Equine Assisted Therapy

What is equine-assisted therapy?
Equine-assisted therapy riding is a treatment alternative to traditional clinical settings. Consumers can be influenced by a horse rather than by physical therapy machinery. The different environment and the warmth and rhythmic movement of a horse can be used to achieve therapeutic goals.

How can Equine-assisted therapy help someone with a disability?
Consumers of all ages with a wide range of disabilities can benefit.The types of disabilities that can be served include: amputations, autism, brain injuries, cardiovascular accident/stroke, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, emotional disabilities, hearing/vision impairments, learning disabilities, mental retardation, multiple sclerosis, post polio, spina bifida and spinal cord injuries.

What is it about riding a horse which brings about therapeutic results?
The horse’s gait produces a motion similar to human ambulation.That motion can strengthen and support the spine and pelvis. It can also stimulate endorphins in the brain that can ultimately reduce the sensation of pain.

What are some of other benefits of equine-assisted therapy
Riding can boost self-confidence, trust and pride as a result of mastering new skills. Riders with physical disabilities can show improvements in flexibility, balance and muscle strength. Riders with mental disabilities can increase confidence, patience and self-esteem.

Our participants come into the program determined not to let their disabilities define them. Instead, they embrace their new experiences and utilize their accomplishments in other areas of their daily lives.


We are currently partnering with Spirit Strides therapeutic riding program. Brenda Gillian, founder and executive director of Spirit Strides, is a PATH, INTL Certified instructor with 10 years of special education teaching and a lifetime of experience with horses. 

Spirit Strides offers classes structured around individual needs. All activities and games are designed to meet individual goals. Each weekly session is 45 minutes in length and they currently offer 5 week sessions. If you would like more information on this program please contact Nancy Pope at 636-931-7696 ext. 113.



Title VI Notice

Disability Resource Association complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that "no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." For more information on the DRA Title VI program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact the DRA Executive Director at 636-931-7696; or visit our administrative office at 130 Brandon Wallace Way, Festus MO.63028. More information is available on our Title VI page.