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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GallopNYC?

GallopNYC is a non-profit organization based in New York City that offers therapeutic horsemanship programs to children and adults with disabilities. We serve 300 riders a week and operate our riding program at four main locations. Schedules at each location vary seasonally.

 

What is therapeutic horsemanship?

Therapeutic horsemanship uses the pleasures and skills of horseback riding and horse knowledge to build developmental, emotional, social, and physical skills for each individual rider.

Under the direction of a PATH International certified instructor, supported by trained volunteers, each rider progressively acquires riding skills and measurable improvements in life skills. Through weekly sessions, we help riders walk, talk, learn, and have FUN! We also offer hippotherapy services.

Therapeutic horsemanship means learning to ride a horse. But it means much more – it means building a bond with a horse, learning to care for a horse, understanding how horses perceive the world and respond to people, and being a leader to a horse.


Who can benefit from GallopNYC’s program?

We think that just about anyone will benefit from our therapeutic horsemanship program. GallopNYC works with children, youth, and adults who face developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Our riders have a wide range of disabilities including learning disabilities; autism spectrum disorder; cerebral palsy; and developmental, speech and language delays. We also work with at-risk teens and children exposed to domestic violence.

In the past years, we have launched a program to provide lessons to people with MS, as well as a program that serves veterans dealing with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions. We received a grant from Autism Speaks to study the impact of therapeutic riding on the ability of young adults with autism to develop skills that help them transition to a work environment. We also began a free, inclusive horse education program that introduces New Yorkers to basic horse skills. In addition, we formed partnerships with local schools and agencies to offer free, group sessions.

GallopNYC also offers leadership training programs to people who do not have disabilities, as we find that the benefits of working with horses are also valuable in the workplace. 

GallopNYC knows from experience that therapeutic riding is a uniquely effective and engaging form of therapy for people dealing with various disabilities, and growing research is providing evidence to back this up, with two clear themes emerging:

  1. The combination of effective physical and cognitive tasking in a motivating context enables people with disabilities to more rapidly attain needed skills, and
  2. A bonding relationship with a horse opens individuals to better acceptance of counseling, therapy, or training.

Therapeutic riding provides concrete benefits, as demonstrated in a recent study that found that “a 10-week therapeutic horseback riding intervention with children diagnosed with [Autism Spectrum Disorders] can result in significant improvement,” specifically in measures of “self-regulation, adaptive expressive language skills, motor skills, and verbal praxis/motor planning skills” (R.L. Gabriels, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders).

These research results are consistent with anecdotal reports from parents and teachers, who report gains in attention span and communication skills that carry over to the home and the classroom.

As one teacher of students with autism spectrum disorders said,

We have been able to use GallopNYC as a springboard for academic tasks….We have seen astronomical changes in posture, balance, muscle control, body awareness, concentration,[reduced] self stimulatory behaviors, language, socialization, patience and sensory integration.

A special needs teacher from an NYC public school wrote:

It is amazing to watch my unruliest students calm down, my most scattered students focus, my quietest students shout, and my least expressive students laugh when they interact with you and the horses… I feel like we can never do enough to express our gratitude.


What is the difference between therapeutic riding and hippotherapy?

Therapeutic riding lessons teach an individual to ride, which typically offers many therapeutic benefits. Lessons are conducted by a PATH International certified therapeutic riding instructor employed by GallopNYC. Lessons are typically in a group format with up to three riders. Note that a lesson may consist of the teaching of horsemanship skills, such as care of the horse and equipment, how to lead, and proper vocabulary, in addition to or instead of riding.
Hippotherapy sessions are offered by a physical therapist trained in Hippotherapy, a method that uses the horse as a physical therapy tool, with less emphasis on learning to ride.


How do I contact you?

The best way to contact us is to email us at [email protected]. You may also leave a detailed message on our voicemail at 917-740-4696. Please include your name, phone number and email address and please speak slowly and clearly.


How often are lessons offered?

Lessons are offered in three sessions per year – Fall, Winter, and Spring.  We currently offer lessons in the Summer at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy on a very limited basis; we hope to expand this program in the future. A session is 8 to 11 weeks long, depending on location and schedule. We do not offer one-time rides. However, a rider can join a session at any time, if room is available. We generally allow riders to continue participating as long as both GallopNYC and the rider’s family agree that the rider is benefiting from the lessons (and funds are available).


Are your instructors specially trained?

Therapeutic riding lessons are taught by a riding instructor certified by PATH Intl., who is supported by a dedicated and experienced group of volunteers. Because GallopNYC is a teaching center, trainee instructors may co-teach lessons under the supervision of a certified instructor. Our hippotherapy sessions are offered by an independent physical therapist trained in Hippotherapy, working with GallopNYC. GallopNYC’s program offers a safe and supportive environment in which an individual can reap many benefits.


What is your minimum age?

Therapeutic riding is generally offered for riders starting at age 4, but we do occasionally allow exceptions. Hippotherapy riders can be as young as 18 months. We also work with youth, adults, and seniors.


Are lessons indoors?

All lessons at Lynne’s Riding School in Queens are held in the indoor arena.  All lessons at the Bowling Green, Bronx Equestrian and Jamaica Bay locations are outdoors, but at Jamaica Bay we can move indoors in bad weather.

IN THE EVENT OF INCLEMENT WEATHER  lessons may be cancelled. We will let people know, but you can check lesson status  on this web site –  clink on Status under MORE. 


What should riders wear?

Riders should dress appropriately for the weather, as we do not have heat or A/C in the arenas. Riders should wear long pants and closed toe shoes or boots with heels. We supply riding helmets, which must be worn at all times around the horses. Riders are welcome to purchase their own helmet and bring it with them each week for lessons. We can order a helmet at a discounted price if you are interested in purchasing one. We require all riders use a helmet that meets ASEI safety standards. Jewelry and hair ornaments can catch on the horse’s mane and tail and should not be worn to lessons. A simple tie back is fine to keep hair away from the rider’s face.


How much does it cost?

Our standard fee is $500 for a group session of ten 30-minute therapeutic riding lessons, and an additional day of makeup lessons at no charge. Shorter sessions with fewer lessons will be pro-rated. One-hour group lessons are $900 for 10 lessons and a make-up lesson. We do have subsidies and discounts available, and we can direct you to possible funders. Hippotherapy fees must be discussed with the therapist.

GallopNYC can accept any subsidy that you might receive toward the cost of lessons, and can provide forms to apply for subsidies such as NYSID. In addition, some partial tuition waivers are available through GallopNYC. 

We also accept the “Family Reimbursement” component of the Medicaid Waiver and Therapeutic Riding is eligible for reimbursement under the  IDGS prorgram. Families must apply for subsidies on their own, and GallopNYC will provide invoices or other paperwork as needed, but only after a rider is scheduled. It is not necessary to complete this paperwork until after we have scheduled your lessons. If you have further questions about Medicaid reimbursement, please contact a Medicaid Service Coordinator, Broker  or OPWDD representative.

How do we sign up?

If you are new to GallopNYC and are interested in signing up, please visit http://gallopnyc.org/programs/rider-signup/ and fill in our online inquiry form. We will collect basic information about the prospective participant and work with you to find a good lesson time. You may be required to be on our waiting list until a spot opens up.  If you are on our waiting list, we will contact you when we have an opening.

We set our lesson schedule about 6 weeks before the session begins – in August for the Fall session, in December for the Winter session, in March for the Spring session, and in May for the Summer session.  After we’ve found a spot for you in our schedule, we will send you the relevant forms that must be filled out and signed prior to beginning lessons. The only form that needs another person’s signature is the medical form, which must be signed by the rider’s physician.

Prior to beginning actual lessons, riders with physical disabilities must be evaluated by GallopNYC’s Physical Therapist before enrolling. We will discuss this with you after we have more information about the rider’s physical condition. You may email us at [email protected] with questions.


When can we ride?

Our program’s schedule changes somewhat each session, so please provide your full schedule availability when you contact us about participating. You can see our lesson schedule on this web site.  Click on Schedule under MORE or under the Quick Links at the bottom of our web page. 

 Our schedule generally follows the public school schedule. Lessons occur at the same day and time every week unless otherwise noted. Riders can join the program any time during the session, pending availability, and their fee will be reduced on a pro-rated basis.

Do you have weekend lessons? Summer lessons?

Our schedule varies each session. We offer lessons at the Bowling Green in Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays, during good weather seasons (spring and fall). Please see http://gallopnyc.org/news/events/ for more information about lessons at the Bowling Green. We typically offer lessons at Lynne’s Riding School in Queens on Sunday mornings.  We currently offer lessons and a camp program in the Summer on a very limited basis; we plan to expand this program in the future.

How do we get to the stable?

GallopNYC offers its program at the following locations. More information can be found on our Facility page at http://gallopnyc.org/about-us/facility/,  or visit www.hopstop.com.

-Bowling Green near Kensington Stables, in the Parade Grounds Section of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY  11218

  • Location: in the Parade Grounds section of the Park; South of Parkside Ave.; on the corner of Coney Island Ave. & Kermit Place.  Directions can be found at http://g.co/maps/wt8s5

-Lynne’s Riding School, 88-03 70th Rd. Forest Hills, Queens 11375

-Jamaica Bay Riding Academy, Shore Parkway, Brooklyn NY

– Bronx Equestrian Center, 9 Shore Road, Bronx, NY.  www.bronxequestriancenter.com/


– GallopNYC (Lindenwood)  https://goo.gl/maps/WqxVmPhbEx32

Can riders who do not have disabilities also participate?

The program is primarily for riders with special needs.  But we also offer lessons to people who do not have disabilities. 

Siblings who do not have a disability can join the rider’s class if we have room.

We offer introductory lessons in our Horse Education program for the public, including people who do not have disabilities, at Bowling Green on Sunday mornings.

We will have general riding lessons available at our Lindenwood location once it is up and running.  

Do we submit our insurance info to you, or do we pay you and get reimbursed?

Hippotherapy riders should discuss this issue with the therapist, as we understand that in some cases, coverage is available. However, insurance rarely covers therapeutic riding lessons. You may be eligible for Medicaid waiver benefits. Some agencies, such as NYSID, pay us directly, others prefer to reimburse you.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept checks and can take credit card payments through our website or by telephone.

Are private lessons available and how much is the fee?

We do have a few private lessons available for a fee of $750 for a series of 10 half-hour lessons. However we encourage riders to join groups as the socialization elicits a positive benefit.

Is it possible to do one trial lesson?

We discourage this as it may take a few lessons for a new rider to get comfortable (although most people take to riding quickly.)

Are there conditions that therapeutic riding and/or hippotherapy are not appropriate for?

We reserve the right to determine if a person will ride with GallopNYC. We work with people at all functional levels and with a wide range of disabilities. However, there are some conditions we may not be able to accommodate. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are the conditions that we have addressed in the past.
For example:

  • Weight: The horses we use have weight limits, and we may not be able to offer mounted lessons to a rider with weight in excess of 200 pounds. (However, ground work–grooming and leading a horse–may be available and beneficial.)
  • Seizure history: A history of seizures may preclude riding.
  • Abusive behavior: Many people with behavioral problems are able to control abusive behaviors while riding, but continued abusive behavior is not tolerated.
  • Shunts: Helmets are mandatory and people with shunts may not be able to wear helmets.
  • Physical conditions: A person must be able to sit comfortably on the horse. Some spinal conditions may not be suitable for riding.

Does my child have to wear a helmet? My child tries to take helmets/hats off.

Yes, a helmet is required. This can be an issue, but usually children are sufficiently motivated to ride and will wear a helmet, or once they are riding, they are too focused on riding to be upset by the helmet.

What are the criteria that determine if a new rider must be evaluated by the Physical Therapist? If an evaluation is needed, how do I arrange the appointment?

Please let us know about the rider’s disability and we will make this assessment and arrange the appointment.

Do I need to get the forms to you prior to the first lesson, or can I just bring them with me?

Once we have agreed upon an available timeslot in our schedule, we will provide you with all forms that need to be filled out. We would very much appreciate having forms submitted in advance.

Does your hippotherapist require an RSA and case ID for billing purposes?

Please speak with the therapist about this.

What do people say about GallopNYC?

A list of links to press about GallopNYC’s therapeutic riding program can be found on our website at http://gallopnyc.org/resources/media/

If you would like to speak with a family currently involved in our program, please let us know.

Do you offer lessons for school or agency groups?

GallopNYC does work with school and agency groups on a limited schedule.  When lessons are available, school children ride with GallopNYC on weekdays from 10:30am-12:30 pm at one of our six locations. The total length of time for a school group session depends on the number of students attending in the group.

How do you measure each rider’s progress?

We have a theory of change that explains in chart form how we use riding lessons to help our riders have improved quality of life and become more active in the world around them. Goals are set for each rider for every sessions and we track lessons and rider progress every week.

You can see more about this on our Program page. 

Where are the Riding Facilities?

We work at six NYC locations:

Prospect Park’s Bowling Green, an outdoor site adjacent to Prospect Park in the Kensington/Windsor Terrace neighborhood in Brooklyn;

https://goo.gl/maps/QVsXP

 Lynne’s Riding School in Forest Hills, Queens;

http://mapq.st/1i6tLEt

Jamaica Bay Riding Academy on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn;

www.horsebackride.com

Bronx Equestrian in Pelham Bay Park, Bronx NY.

Bronx Equestrian”>http://bronxequestriancenter.com

Riverdale Equestrian Center in Van Cortland Park, Bronx NY.

GallopNYC (Lindenwood) 

https://goo.gl/maps/WqxVmPhbEx32