About HOPE Equestrian Center
HOPE Equestrian Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. HOPE began in the Rogue Valley in 1988 and has been in operation since 1994. Each year HOPE provides services to individuals with a wide range of disabilities. We work with families and professionals to design a riding program that directly benefits each individual’s therapeutic goals.
Saddling up on a horse is an enjoyable experience for many people, but for an individual with a disability it can signify much more—a road to improvement and recovery.
Each year people with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities benefit from equine-assisted activities. Whether it’s a five-year-old with Down Syndrome, or a 45year-old recovering from a spinal cord injury, horseback riding provides challenges as well as rewards for many. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination and motor development. For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship formed with a horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem, as well as emotional well-being. The sense of independence found on horseback benefits all who ride.
HOPE offers classes for all ages, in group or private lessons. Riders’ disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, Down Syndrome, learning disabilities and developmental delays. Our instructors and staff design and monitor individualized lesson plans based on input from doctors, therapists, teachers and parents. Students are evaluated regularly and goals are set to address their physical, emotional and social needs. Individual and class goals encourage each rider to be the best he/she can be, on and off the horse.
Volunteers form the backbone of our organization. Our community-based board of directors includes people in veterinary medicine, medicine, therapy, education, ranching, parents of special needs children, and local businesses. Over 50 volunteers donate their time and energy to assist with horses and riders and to help with special events and clerical tasks throughout the year. As an affiliate center member with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), we abide by their high standards of professionalism and safety. Our instructors are dedicated professionals, required to be members of NARHA and currently NARHA certified or in the process of certification.
HOPE is committed to providing a professional therapeutic riding program of the highest quality. Our goal is to offer our participants the opportunity to ride horses for therapeutic benefits for a wide variety of physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Each year, many of the handicapped clients served at HOPE are low income/Medicare eligible. Generous donations from individuals and businesses in our local communities, along with those from regional and national organizations enable HOPE to continue to serve those with little or no financial resources. With support from people like you, our program here at HOPE can continue to serve the therapeutic needs of disabled and disadvantaged individuals in the Rogue Valley and surrounding areas.