Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Therapeutic horsemanship uses the pleasures and skills of horseback riding and horse knowledge to build developmental, emotional, social, and physical skills for each of our riders. Additionally, we offer hippotherapy services.

Prospective Rider Form

Completing this form will put you on our waiting list. Our programs are offered quarterly and the waiting list is used to add new riders each season. Riders are offered spots in our program in the order they signed up online. Please note that the more flexibility you have to travel to different locations, the sooner we will be able to offer a spot in the program. 

Riders with physical disabilities may need to be evaluated by GallopNYC’s physical therapist before beginning the program. We will discuss this with you after we have more information about the riders’ physical abilities. If you have additional questions, please email us at info@gallopNYC.org. 

How to Prepare

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. If you decide to purchase a helmet, please note that 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.

Yes, a helmet is required. This can be an issue for some people, but usually the motivation to ride is strong enough and quickly they are able to wear a helmet. If the helmet is an ongoing struggle for a rider, we will lend the rider a helmet to practice wearing at home to get used to it.

Once you have been scheduled in our program we will provide you with forms that need to be filled out via Docusign and email. We very much appreciate having forms submitted in a timely manner. Please note that we cannot begin riding until we have a medical form signed by a doctor. 

About Our Therapeutic Riding Program

Under the direction of a PATH International certified instructor and, supported by trained volunteers, each week our program teaches riding skills through a thoughtful, progressive curriculum. Not only do our riders learn how to ride, but we set individualized goals and see measurable improvements in life skills. At GallopNYC, we help riders walk, talk, learn, and have FUN!  

Therapeutic horseback riding provides an opportunity to learn 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.

Payment

Frequently Asked Questions

We think that just about anyone will benefit from our therapeutic horsemanship program. GallopNYC works with children, teens youth, and adults who face developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Our riders have a wide range of disabilities including developmental and learning disabilities; autism spectrum disorder; cerebral palsy, MS, trauma and PTSD, and speech and language delays. Riders in our Therapeutic Riding program can start as young as four.

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.

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. Lessons are typically in a group format with up to three riders. Note that a lesson may consist of the teaching of equine 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. Riders work one on one with a therapist, though often there will be other riders in the arena at the same time.

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 an equine 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.

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.

The program is primarily for riders with disabilities. But we do offer lessons to people who do not have a diagnosis.  Often we have siblings of riders with disabilities in our program.

We offer free introductory lessons in our Horse Education program for the public, including people who do not have disabilities, at Bowling Green on Saturday afternoons and Sunrise Stables on Sunday afternoons. Please click here for more information

We also offer general riding lessons and recreational riding at GallopNYC Sunrise Stables in Lindenwood, and GallopNYC in Forest Hills. Please click here for more information.

 

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.)
  • Uncontrolled Seizure: If a person is experiencing regular, uncontrolled seizures, they may not be able to ride. 
  • Abusive behavior: Many people who struggle to control their behavior, find that they are able to control abusive behaviors while riding, but continued abusive behavior is not tolerated as it creates an unsafe situation.
  • Shunts: Helmets are mandatory and people with shunts may not be able to wear helmets.
  • Physical conditions: A person must be able to hold their body up while sitting  on the horse. Some spinal conditions may not be suitable for riding.

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 four locations. The total length of time for a school group session depends on the number of students attending in the group.

Goals are set for each rider for every sessions and we track lessons and rider progress every week.

Pricing and Financial Aid

Pricing

30-Minute Weekly Group Therapeutic Riding Lessons

Our standard fee is $550 for a group session of ten 30-minute therapeutic riding lessons. 

Affordability

At GallopNYC, we believe Therapeutic Horsemanship should be available and accessible to all New Yorkers.  GallopNYC takes pride in our commitment to provide these pivotal services, regardless of a rider’s ability to pay. 

Payment

Insurance rarely covers therapeutic riding lessons. However, you can use insurance benefits to pay for hippotherapy services since they are provided by a physical therapist.

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

Sure! Just reach out to the program team to create a plan.