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We are a nonprofit therapeutic horse riding center in Winter Garden that is providing an invaluable service to Central Florida by offering one-on-one therapeutic riding lessons free of charge to children and adults of low to middle income with developmental disorders, children who are victims of abuse, at-risk youth and Veterans.

Many people wonder what equine-assisted healthcare looks like.  Potential students fill out applications giving a detailed summary of the students health issues and individual personalities.  We match each new student with a pony or horse that can adequately carry his or her weight but is of a size where the student is on its eye level.  As “the eyes are the window to the soul,” we want the student to be able to see through this window and feel the beautiful spirit of the horse so that they may experience love and understanding.

Before each lesson, students participate, to their own ability, in leading, grooming, and saddling the horse or pony.  Then they spend the remainder of the hour on the horse with their certified riding instructor guiding and their parent or volunteer walking at their side.  Time on the horse is not like recreational riding, as students are at different levels of physical ability or emotional comfort.  Riding may consist of simple walking, stopping and turning and may progress to activities such as trotting and maneuvering within the round pen, cantering and even jumping.  Each rider is taught in 96 carefully crafted steps designed for the maximum intervention in their particular disability. The riding may appear very slow and limited to a new observer, but the minute gains in self-control and insight that students achieve have profound and immediate effects in their daily lives. After the riding lesson, the students assist in the same grooming activities in reverse order. The students then give their horse a treat as a reward for its hard work.

Over the course of an average twelve weeks, the student and pony develop a relationship of trust, inspiration, and affection, i.e., the love that so many of our students have had difficulty expressing or receiving until now.

One unique feature of our organization is that we also rescue abused or neglected horses and ponies and completely rehabilitate and train the animals.  Our motto is that while the horse is saving the child, in turn, the students love is saving the horse.

If you purchase a brick with a custom logo, please send the logo to Shannon.crisante@spirithorsebtf.com.

We would greatly appreciate your contribution.


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