HorseAbility offers year-round programming at our facility of the campus of SUNY Old Westbury. Each of the following programs is tailored to meet the individual needs of our clients. The riders at HorseAbility are a diverse group of children and adults. Children as young as 3 participate in our program, and there is no age limit. Currently our oldest rider is 85 years of age. Riders of all ages can benefit from HorseAbility’s programs listed below.

BENEFITS OF THERAPEUTIC RIDING

Research shows that therapeutic riding students can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. For individuals with impaired mobility, horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves their body in a manner similar to a walking gait. These riders experience increased balance, muscle control and strength. Riders can also experience increased confidence, independence, and self esteem.

The therapeutic riding is beneficial to individuals with psychological, physical, social, and emotional disabilities, include but are not limited to:

  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Visual Impairments
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Hearing Impairments
  • Emotional Disabilities
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Amputations
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Developmental Delay
  • Autism
  • Paralysis
  • Brain Injuries
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Sensory Integration Disorder

There is a unique bond that is formed between a rider and a horse. Individuals with learning disorders or developmental disabilities are motivated by riding to increase concentration, patience and discipline. If a psychological or emotional disability is present, the unique relationship formed with a horse can help in improving interpersonal relationships.

The wide range of programs offered provide an opportunity for almost any individual with any disability* to participate in equine activities.

*some contraindications may prevent mounted activities, or participation in some programs.

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THERAPEUTIC RIDING

Therapeutic horseback riding began over fifty years ago. At one time just an insignificant concept by dedicated equestrians, therapeutic riding has now evolved into a well respected method widely recognized by medical, psychiatric, and social service professionals worldwide.

HorseAbility offers a year-round therapeutic horseback-riding program for individuals with special needs. Physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual needs are met through our unique program. Our lessons are designed to meet the needs of each individual, and, by utilizing the skills of horsemanship; we are able to reach personalized therapeutic goals. Each rider is encouraged to be as independent as possible while both on and off the horse.

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HIPPOTHERAPY

“Hippos” is the Greek word for horse, so the term Hippotherapy translates as therapy with the use of a horse. Hippotherapy, when used as a tool by a licensed Physical, Occupational, or Speech therapist, promotes motor planning abilities, and mobilizes the hips, pelvis and lumbar spine. It also stimulates the central nervous system, activates weak muscles and reduces spasticity.

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CAMP HORSEABILITY

Camp HorseAbility is a week-long riding, learning, and fun-filled day camp for individuals with special needs. The camp benefits each and every camper with a unique experience that brings together all the wonderful attributes of a typical day camp in an equine-centered, therapeutic environment. Our takes place annually at the end of August (Mon. – Fri.) from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily at The Thomas School of Horsemanship in Melville.

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SPECIAL OLYMPICS

HorseAbility is proud to be a host site for both Nassau and Suffolk counties Special Olympics Equestrian program. Students in Special Olympics with the help of HorseAbility’s trained coaches, often qualify and participate in State Games. Two of these riders qualified for and participated in the prestigious Special Olympics World Games in Ireland in 2003! To contact Special Olympics, or to get more information about Special Olympics Programmin

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FUTURE STARS SUMMER CAMP

Future Stars Horseback Riding Campers will enjoy a week of horsemanship and riding at a Stable adjacent to the campus, as well as additional field play and swim time each day. Campers will learn and practice all aspects of horse care and riding, with three hours each day spent on the farm Monday – Friday, and all activities tailored to the individual’s abilities. All campers will be paired with a horse, experienced and trained volunteer, and supervised by a certified riding instructor.

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CAMP LOYALTOWN

HorseAbility offers a satellite  equine program at Camp Loyaltown, located in the Catskill Mountains, 2 and 1/2 hours North of New York City and 3 hours north of Nassau County’s western border. Each year, more than 650 campers enjoy the wonders of the outdoors in a safe and fun environment.

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EQUINE FACILITATED ACTIVITES

Horses are amazing tools that mirror our behavior and emotions. They help individuals learn more about themselves and about relationship dynamics in people’s lives.

The Equine-Facilitated Activities Program is an innovative, activity-based group or individual adventure that uses horses to work on peer relationships, self-esteem, attachment issues, trust building, fear and conflict resolution, anxiety, depression, as well as many other difficulties. Target participants are middle to high school-aged at-risk youths of all-levels of physical, psychological, and social functioning as well as for those for whom horseback riding is contraindicated, but would still benefit from equine related activities.

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EQUINE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

Individuals, schools, and organizations are invited to join HorseAbility for a day to learn about the gifts that horses have to offer. Stable care, groundwork, grooming, proper safety around horses, and riding are introduced. Hands-on activities, group discussions, and picnic opportunities are part of the experience. Participants can also enjoy our petting zoo and playground areas.

To get information about sending your group to HorseAbility to experience Equine Discovery please call 631-367-1646 ext. 15.

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LIHSSRD

The Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD) was created in 2005 to provide competition opportunities for riders with special needs at United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) rated hunter jumper shows.

LIHSSRD classes are held at rated competitions throughout Long Island and are open to all riders with a documented disability. Riders compete for points at each show. The top riders in each division qualify for the LIHSSRD Championship Finals, held annually at The Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY.

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EQUINE FACILITATED THERAPY

Horses are amazing tools that mirror our behavior and emotions. They help individuals learn more about themselves and about relationship dynamics in people’s lives.

The Equine-Facilitated Activities Program is an innovative, activity-based group or individual adventure that uses horses to work on peer relationships, self-esteem, attachment issues, trust building, fear and conflict resolution, anxiety, depression, as well as many other difficulties. Target participants are middle to high school-aged at-risk youths of all-levels of physical, psychological, and social functioning as well as for those for whom horseback riding is contraindicated, but would still benefit from equine related activities.

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HORSEABILITY FOR HEROES

HorseAbility for Heroes assists military veterans through the use of equine-facilitated approaches/interventions. The healing that occurs for each individual flows into other areas of a persons’ life including relationships with family and community. The skills learned and relationships built with our horses allows participants to work on:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Addictions
  • Grief Issues
  • Panic Attacks/Anxiety
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Identity Problems
  • Many other difficulties

Active military personnel and veterans are invited to join us as program participants and/or volunteers.

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EQUINE FACILITATED PSYCHOTHERAPY

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is a short-term experiential approach that can be utilized in conjunction with other modalities of counseling or psychotherapy or on it’s own. EFP is conducted by a team which includes a Licensed Mental Health Professional, an Equine Specialist and one or more horses.

After an initial assessment, a treatment plan is designed to meet the client’s needs. The format consists of an experiential activity with a horse or horses and a reflection about the experience. Activities are structured to meet specific treatment goals and may include ground exercises, leading, grooming, lunging, and/or riding.

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EQUINE DISCOVERY

Individuals, schools, and organizations are invited to join HorseAbility for a day to learn about the gifts that horses have to offer. Stable care, groundwork, grooming, proper safety around horses, and riding are introduced. Hands-on activities, group discussions, and picnic opportunities are part of the experience. Participants can also enjoy our petting zoo and playground areas.
To get information about sending your group to HorseAbility to experience Equine Discovery please call the office at 631-333-6151

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

Various educational workshops and clinics are planned and offered throughout the year covering a variety of topics relevant to the equestrian and therapeutic riding professions.

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ADDITIONAL PROGRAMMING

Horse Shows
HorseAbility offers Spring and Fall Horse Shows to our riders each year as well as Camp Horse Shows. The shows are appropriate for riders at any level, and are set up for 100% success. Ribbons and trophies are awarded to each rider. Family and friends are invited to come and watch the show and cheer on the riders. HorseAbility also offers opportunities to riders who wish to participate in additional horse shows.

Birthday Parties
When scheduling permits, birthday parties are available upon request to families who participate in one of HorseAbility’s programs. Birthday parties include access to a party room, access to the petting zoo and playground, a group horseback riding lesson for each party guest, and an arts and crafts project.

Special Events

Throughout the year HorseAbility holds many special events. Some of these events include a Family Egg hunt, Family Fun Bowling, Casino Night Fund Raiser, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Holiday parties, as well as many others. Check our News/Events section for upcoming events!