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Cognitive Enrichment
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Photo Credit: Robyn Cooper, 2008 All rights reserved

Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved

Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved

Photo Credit: Carolyn Ewels, 2008 All rights reserved

Photo Credit: Pat Sterrett, 2008 All rights reserved

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Photo Credit: Battersea Saratoga, courtesy
The Battersea Stud

Photo Credit: Grace Hansen-Gilmour,
2014 All rights reserved
Dressage Coaching at Shows is Free!

ETA is a fully accredited and insured NARHA, PATH Int'l., Premier Center. All instructors are NARHA, PATH Int'l., certified and life-long equestrians. Virtually all lessons are private, offering one-on-one interaction between rider and instructor. ETA offers a fully range of equine assisted activities, formerly called therapeutic riding or horse therapy. ETA also offers a "Back-in-the-Saddle Program" for former riders eager to restart their equestrian careers.
CLICK HERE to learn more!

ETA offers lessons for individuals aged three and up, and focuses primarily on learning disabilities, ADHD/ADD, sequencing and processing disorders, Autism, mild to moderate Cerebral Palsy, emotional disabilities, hearing impairments, mental retardation, Downs Syndrome, developmental delays, strokes, Fibromyalgia Syndrome, speech impairments, and visual impairments. (Generally, due to constraints offered by space, equipment and the horses and ponies that we use, we refer those with other types of disabilities and conditions to other NARHA, PATH Int'l., centers).

ETA now offers a VAULTING class click here for info!

and the Back-in-the-Saddle Program
also the new SpiritHorse Program


Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved

ETA now offers ten separate horse therapy programs:

(1) The Pre-Riding Program for 3 yr. olds (Skills Development); (2) the Pre-Riding Program for most autistic students and those with substantial development delays (Skills Development); (3) the Pre-Driving Program; and (4) Cognitive Enrichment Program; (5) the Pre-Vaulting Program, (6) the Vaulting program (7) the Regular Riding Program, Therapeutic Horsemanship, Therapeutic Riding, Equine Assisted Activies, and Equine Faciliated Learning.(8) ETA also offers an equine education component, with texts, a lending library, bound clips and articles for staff and parents, a summer lecture series, and seminar programming. In addition, (9) ETA also offers instruction for children and adults who do not have mental and or physical handicaps, and it inaugurated in 2008 a (10) comprehensive Seniors Programs, which includes lessons at the farm to enhance flexibility, balance and strength-building, as well as educational progamming. All of these clients come to ETA because they value private English or Western lessons from certified instructors that emphasize safety, and who teach at a pace and with content that closely matches individual needs. Click Here for registration forms.

The gentle therapy process of instruction works wonderfully well for most candidates, as we emphasize exercise, music, singing, theory and ground lessons, as well as mounted lessons. We follow NARHA, PATH Int'l., guidelines, and each potential client is screened extensively to determine whether our program can meet their needs safely and effectively. Each rider is assessed according to whether there are medical precautions and contraindications that would affect service, whether our staff is qualified to meet their needs, if our horses are appropriate, and if we have the required facilities and or equipment to meet their needs. If we cannot meet a particular client’s needs, we refer them to another program(s). A release of liability form is required, as is pre-certification from your medical professional(s). Of course, recent IEPs and therapy goal letters from PTs and OTs are vital, and should be received at least a week before class.

The benefits of equine assisted activities (formerly called horse therapy or therapeutic riding) are as numerous as the types of disabilities and conditions the field serves, and lesson fees are reasonable. Medical research shows that students who participate in therapeutic riding can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards such as enhanced flexibility, balance and muscle strength, as well as increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. Families benefit also, as their member grows in strength and confidence, while meeting new friends (four-legged as well as two), and enjoying our beautiful countryside. Almost all of our students typically ride once a week, although those with more intense therapy needs may require two to three sessions per week.

We find that the time invested in grooming and tacking/untacking the horse or pony, as well as in learning valuable lessons about nutrition, stable management, equine health and riding theory is at least as valuable -- in terms of fine and gross motor skills, a general knowledge base, and self-confidence -- as is the actual mounted lesson. Thus, we typically ask our riders to invest a half-hour in ground exercises and in preparing the pony or horse for class, 45 minutes in the mounted lesson and game, and 15 minutes in cooling down/untacking and grooming the horse before he/she is put away. Quite often we use written materials as well, tailored to the level and age of the client. Clients who need work on balance and sequencing, coordination and or strength, also enjoy the mini-tramp, a Kangaroo ball, or other apparatus, as well as riding. These aides reinforce the riding therapy, as well as that of other professionals.

Registration is simple. Click here for Registration forms, please. Some individuals may request an initial evaluation, if they or our staff are unsure as to whether or not therapeutic riding is indicated. This costs $100.00 and takes about two hours. Click here for the Evaluation Forms. Instruction is offered in a series of 12 lessons, prepaid in advance. Quarterly scholarships are available, and usually require a week to process. Click here for ETA scholarship information. For those applying late, refunds are given to successful ETA scholarship applicants. ETA also works with clients to help them apply to government bodies, foundations, and other institutions for additional assistance. Please contact the Director if you feel that this information would be helpful.

What Else Is New? ETA recently inaugurated a Back-in-the-Saddle Program for former riders eager to restart equestrian lessons. ETA also recently hosted for the first time two courses for Elderhostel International, both with an educational and service component! ETA also offers national and international courses through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's referral service on Organic Farming, and Organic Farm Volunteer Training. ETA has also expanded its service opportunities to county, state, and private entities interested in providing Vocational Training for the developmentally delayed with four new courses in Equine/Farm Groundskeeping (pasture management), Groom Training, Stable Management, and Stable Assistant Training. ETA is also now offering the services of a physical and an occupational therapist on an on-call basis, both for initial assessments and IEPs, as well as for lesson plan development. All of these new services are provided with an additional charge, and may be reimbursed by insurance and or outside bodies.

ETA trailers to open shows, Special Olympics, MCET, eventing, and up to five shows with divisions for the Challenged Rider. Pre-Driving opportunities are now offered at ETA. ETA currently has two excellent driving ponies, with carts and harnesses. Therapeutic driving, challenged competition, and pleasure driving will be offered to those whose balance is not appropriate for riding, who find it uncomfortable to be mounted, who are overweight for our horses, and/ or who would learn best in a cart behind a horse or pony. Elementary Drill Team and Pre-Vaulting is offered as an adjunct activity along with a therapeutic riding series, if requested. ETA has dramatically expanded its Equine Assisted Activities programming by offering individual and group Pre-Vaulting classes, which are akin to gymnastics on pony-back (please see the musical slide show in yellow at the top of this page).

Photo Credit: Alicia Agnew, 2003 All rights reserved


Photo Credit: Robin Cooper, 2008 All rights reserved

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