19 January 2018

How well does GallopNYC take care of our Horses?


How well does GallopNYC take care of our Horses?

We love our horses and ponies, and we want them to be healthy and happy so that they can do their best work for our riders.

GallopNYC uses therapeutic horseback riding to help people In NYC with disabilities walk, talk and learn, inspiring them to live their lives as fully, independently and productively as possible. Therapeutic horseback riding provides measurable benefits for people with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. We and our horses help riders walk, talk and learn, inspiring them to live their lives as fully, independently and productively as possible.

GallopNYC serves over 500 riders every week at four NYC locations.

GallopNYC’s stables are in an urban environment, and we firmly believe that horses are happily adapted to city life and belong in the city.

Many GallopNYC horses are rescues or “close saves” – horses about to be sent to an uncertain future. They are older horses who are unlikely to have a home if they did not work for us and who benefit from a useful occupation. When horses can no longer work for us, we retire them to a farm. (Above, Suzetta in a stall at Forest Hills with her stall door open.)

Studies show that horses are comfortable and not stressed by Therapeutic Riding, especially if handled with good horsemanship. It’s relatively light work for a horse and they seem to enjoy the attention they get from riders and volunteers. Before we accept a horse, we spend time making sure he is comfortable and happy with the job of a therapeutic horse.

Our stables are open to the public – come visit and see for yourself!

How we care for our horses.

GallopNYC is committed to the highest standards of horse care and horsemanship. One of our values is “Care for our Horses, our People and our Resources.”

Our stables exceed NYC requirements. These rules include detailed requirements for items such as stall size, hours of work, rest times, vaccinations, and veterinarian care and health certifications. We also follow PATH Int’l. guidelines for horse use and horse care. NY City regulates the use of horses in extreme cold and heat (90 degrees Fahrenheit (32oC) and above in the summer and 18 degrees Fahrenheit (8oC) or below in the winter).

As well as our stables, our horses are each licensed by NYC. They receive regular Vet care, as well as Farrier (horseshoes) and Dental care.

Stalls are cleaned daily, and bedding refreshed, and horses are fed twice a day. Older horses are fed three times a day to maintain hydration and weight. Each horse has an individualized diet which will include vitamins and supplements, plus any medications, all as recommended by our Vet. Hay and water are freely available at all times. Our grooms are paid staff, not volunteers.

Horses at GallopNYC have an exercise regimen and we track their lesson use to be sure they get enough exercise but are not overused. Each horse has an individualized weight limit and work load limit. Horses also get exercise, grooming and hand walking for their overall well being. (Above horses and riders on the 

Forest Park Bridle Path.)

GallopNYC works hard to improve the lives of our horses everyday. 

As just one example of our ongoing work, we brought in an international horse trainer, Chris Irwin, to help us improve horsemanship and train staff and volunteers in consistent methods.

We work with Chris at regular intervals.

(At right, Chris with Faith the pony and Kimberly.)

With two sites, we have the option of Sunrise Stables, which has more space, for horses who need it. 

At Forest Hills we have added new socialization opportunities for horses, with indoor turn out sessions and the “lounge“ – an area of the stables where horses can have more interaction with each other . (At left, Popcorn and Brownie in the “lounge.”)

We see little evidence of horse stress. If we do see any sign of stress, we take appropriate action.


But what about “Turn Out”?

“Turn out” for horses usually means free time in a paddock, and most people believe horses benefit from it, including us!

Turn out has three main functions and we have ways to offering these benefits to our horses, even at Forest Hills, where we have no paddocks.

Socialization – Our horses socialize in free time in the arena and the “lounge” set up in the stables, and also while in their stalls. Butch and Sundance, for example, hang out next to their shared stall wall and call each other when one leaves their stall. (At right, Rosebud and Buddy socialize at Forest Hills.)

Exercise – Our horses are exercised regularly and often on the Forest Park Bridle Path and in our indoor arena. In the arena, they are exercised with free-lunging time (no ropes or reins), hand-walking, and riding.

Grazing – Horses in a pasture spend time grazing on grass. When indoors, our horses graze on hay and that allows us to monitor how much they eat.

Different Horses, Different Needs

Some horses are couch potatoes; while others are marathoners who need more exercise. We keep the marathoners (in our case more like 5k joggers) at Sunrise Stables. Couch potatoes are happy at Forest Hills.

If a horse seems restless at Forest Hills, we can move the horse to Sunrise for a short period of R&R or for good. We moved Sadie, Governor and Irish to Sunrise for this reason.

(At right, Mocha enjoying the paddock at Sunrise)

We have been recognized for our excellent horse care.

Suzy Marquard, GallopNYC’s Board Chair, won the Equus Foundation Humanitarian Award, which is given to “an individual or group of individuals who has devoted considerable personal time to making the quality of life of our equine partners paramount.” (At right, Suzy receiving her award.)

Equus Foundation also honored GallopNYC with the “Horse Whisperer” award for two years in a row, in recognition of our extraordinary work with horses.

GallopNYC’s care for horses has also been recognized by the New York Community Trust.

Want to help our horses? Adopt a horse or donate!

GallopNYC stables:

GallopNYC Forest Hills, 8803 70th Road, Forest Hills

GallopNYC Sunrise Stables, 8098 Linden Blvd, Howard Beach