Horse Show Days are here! May 20-26, 2017

Horse Show Days is one of our favorite weeks here at High Hopes!

High Hopes celebrates the accomplishments of its participants during our annual Horse Show Days week to be held May 20-26th, 9:00 am-5:00 pm each day at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, located at 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme.  More than 240 riders will showcase the new skills and achievements they have been working toward throughout the year, as well as introduce friends and family to their horses and volunteers.  The event is hosted by High Hopes and will include participant demonstrations, rider award ribbon presentations, and a yummy bake sale to benefit our programs and participants.  It is truly a very special day and all are invited to participate in the festivities.  Horse Show Days is free to the public and an event not to be missed.

For more information, contact Karena Garrity or call (860) 434-1974, ext. 119.



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Save the Date! Moon Dance . . . June 10, 2017 Tickets on Sale Now!

Put on your dancing shoes and dance by the light of the moon!  Save the Date for High Hopes’ premiere gala event, MOON DANCE, Saturday, June 10th here at High Hopes.

The arena will once again be transformed into a magical vista of stars, moon and shimmering lights with cocktails, dinner, fabulous silent auction and dancing to the sounds of The Sultans.  An evening of High Hopes among over 600 friends, donors, sponsors and patrons all to benefit the programs and participants of High Hopes.

There are many ways to jump in on the plans for Moon Dance whether a corporate sponsorship, the donation of an auction item or simply planning to to join us for all the festivities.  Here’s how to get involved:

Click Here for Corporate Sponsorships:  We are excited to share the magic of the night with your corporation and welcome corporate sponsorship of our event.  For more information, contact Sara Qua at

Click Here for Auction Donations:  We will have a fabulous auction of treasures to trips and would love your donation to the auction.  Nothing is too big or small for us.  For more information on donating to our silent auction, contact

Click Here For Tickets & Tables:  Join over 600 guests at one of the shoreline’s premiere gala events.  Whether a pair of tickets or you want to put together a full table of friends or associates…we would love to have you!  For information, please email Karena Garrity,

Click Here To Volunteer:  We need you!  For more information about volunteering at High Hopes, please contact

Mark off those calendars and save the date for a night to remember!  Watch for news updates as we near the big night—start planning your tables, dust off your shoes as we get ready to swirl the night away.

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Summer Camp Registration Deadline May 22nd. Camp Volunteers Needed!

Each summer High Hopes is pleased to offer five unique sessions of an inclusive summer camp.  The sessions are designed to meet the needs of our campers’ ages and riding skill levels.  Throughout our four-day camp sessions, participants experience grooming, tack, daily riding lessons, trail rides, gymnastics on horseback, carriage driving, arts and crafts and of course play inclusive team-building GAMES!

Summer Camp volunteers are needed!  For information, contact Marie Manero,

All sessions are Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Each session enrolls a maximum of 16 participants.

2017 Camp Session Schedules are as follows:

Week 1:  June 26- June 29

Week 2:  July 10- July 13

Week 3-  July 17- July 20

Week 4-  July 24- July 27

Week 5- July 31 – August 3rd

Click here for more information and to register 

For any additional questions please contact our Special Programs Manager, Sarah Carlson, or call (860) 434-1974, ext. 115.


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Summer Ahead! Community Riding Lessons Offered

Learn2Ride Community Riding Lessons Summer Session                                                                                                                                          

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is offering riding lessons for community members who want to learn how to ride, brush up on old skills or try a new activity.  High Hopes instructors specialize in individualizing riding instruction in a safe and supportive environment. With a wide variety of breeds, riders are matched with the right member of the herd to meet their needs and ability.  Attendees can sign up for either riding or carriage driving lessons. There is a rider weight limit of 180 lbs. for safety of the horse and rider.

All lessons are offered at High Hopes’ 120-acre site at 36 Town Woods Road in Old Lyme, and are 45 minutes to one hour each, once a week, beginning June 20, 2017 running for nine consecutive weeks through August 22nd.

SUMMER LESSON SERIES: beginning June 20, 2017

9 consecutive weeks- $540 (6/20/17 – 8/22/17)

Youth/Adolescents: Fridays at 4:30pm

Adult Group: Tuesdays at 5:30pm

For more information, contact Sarah Carlson at, or 860-434-1974, ext. 115.

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Meet Griffin

Griffin, age 5, began riding at High Hopes in the summer of 2014 as a participant in our Immersion Camp program run in conjunction with L&M Hospital. Griffin has a progressive and terminal condition known as MPS type III A, a rare disease that prevents his body from breaking down toxins, allowing them to build up in his muscles and organs and affecting him both physically and neurologically. There is no cure for MPS, only experimental therapies – which can be scary.

Since Griffin’s diagnosis, his mother Kerri has wanted him to become involved in therapeutic riding at High Hopes as a way of building physical strength while slowing his disease’s progression. Because of his disability Griffin is non-verbal which makes forming personal bonds difficult, but his love of animals is constant and strong.

Riding at High Hopes works Griffin’s muscles. It strengthens his core as he sits straight and works leg muscles needed for balance. When Griffin dismounts from Petra he stands taller and doesn’t fall as often.

More importantly, riding for Griffin is a fun activity that provides an outlet for his mental energy. Riding breaks through his mental and physical isolation and for a short while each week Griffin is just a happy boy experiencing the joys of being with his beloved pony.

Griffin’s mom, Kerri, works hard to ensure her son has the best care needed to improve his quality of life while extending the time he has available. Riding at High Hopes helps meet those goals but would not be possible without financial assistance.

Your donation provides direct financial assistance to Griffin and hundreds of other children and adults with disabilities from throughout Connecticut and makes their participation in life changing, equine-assisted activities a reality. Learn more here.

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When you shop on be sure to use our Amazon Smile link and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to High Hopes!

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding

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Moon Dance Silent Auction Preview!


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Making Great Strides . . . LEARN at High Hopes!

We love Thursdays at High Hopes! Each week, Tim Logan of LEARN, brings a group of high schoolers to High Hopes for our unmounted Equine Learning Program with a focus on character development.  With their volunteers, Pam and Andrea, the boys are exploring a “Hero’s Journey” curriculum that involves partnering with the horse as they traverse obstacle courses, work as a team, and develop problem solving skills.

Mr. Tim (as the boys call him) has seen remarkable results from the High Hopes program. The boys connect with their horse, Teddy, and become calm and focused while working with him. Thank you, “Mr. Tim” for sharing your group with High Hopes!


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High Hopes Celebrates Spring at the Madison Beach Hotel

It was a special night for High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc. at the Madison Beach Hotel on Friday, March 24th, with a reception and celebration of spring that shared the story of High Hopes with new friends from Madison and surrounding communities.  The event was sponsored by the Madison Beach Hotel, 30-Mile Brewery, Mionetto, USA & Salute Vodka.  The event drew over 70 guests that included, First Selectman of Madison, Tom Banisch and Eileen Banisch, Executive Director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce.

Kitty Stalsburg, Executive Director, discussed programs offered by High Hopes and explained how Equine Assisted Therapy positively impacts the physical and emotional needs of nearly 1800 individuals, ages 3-80, annually.  Participant parent and member of the Board of Trustees, Katherine Gibson went on to talk about the sometimes lonely challenges of raising a special needs child and strains this places on the family unit.  She went on to say, “since finding High Hopes, my child and family have experienced exceptional results, acceptance, hope and support through therapeutic riding and the High Hopes family.”

Serving Connecticut communities and beyond,  High Hopes instructs over 240 participants per week through equine therapy in both mounted and unmounted activities administered by an instructional staff of 21.   High Hopes not only works with individuals but also provides Equine Assisted therapeutic programs to school groups, senior citizens, social service agencies and veteran programs.  To visit or find out more about High Hopes, contact Sara Qua, Director of Development, or call (860) 434-1974, ext. 122.

Pictured left to right:  John Mather-GM of the Madison Beach Hotel, Gary Rogers-Marketing Chair of High Hopes, Katherine Gibson and Jeff Ridgway-High Hopes Board of Trustees.

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Read All About It! RIDER Winter 2017 Newsletter

The Winter 2017 Rider Newsletter is hot off the press.  Inside this edition—A Memorial to the one and only Janie Davison; High Hopes Valentine this month:  Candy, Horse of the Year; and a very special spotlight on a father-son volunteer team, Nate & Zane–Hand over Hand Helping High Hopes!  Sit back, relax, grab a hot cocoa and enjoy our winter issue . . . Spring is just around the corner!

Download the Winter 2017 Rider Issue

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High Hopes 2015-2016 Annual Report: IMPACT Available now!

High Hopes Annual Report 2015-2016 is now available and making great IMPACT!  This year, we are prioritizing the need to clearly articulate the outcomes happening daily at High Hopes, shouting out the value of equine assisted activities to ensure that others truly understand the significant impact and worth of these unique therapies.   This Annual Report captures this IMPACT reflecting on the  Impact of Motion . . . Impact of Relationships . . . Impact of Support and lastly quantifying it all through, The Numbers of Impact!  

Together we can and do change lives, each and every day . . . This is YOUR impact . . . You make it happen!

2015-2016 Annual Report:  IMPACT!



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Meet Matthew . . .

This is the story of Matthew Scotella.  Matthew came to High Hopes over 9 years ago diagnosed with a rare genetic neuromuscular disease which still confounds medical personnel.  Over the years, despite extreme personal challenges, Matthew has made great personal, emotional and physical strides at High Hopes sharing his excitement and love of horses with all.  Ever enthusiastic to learn, Matthew’s spirit is infectious.  From a five year old child to now a fourteen year old teen who has progressed through close to 360 lessons with over 200 volunteers lending 720 hours of support, Matthew has achieved goal after goal earning the highest honor of being awarded The 2016 PATH Int’l Youth Equestrian of the Year.

Because of You . . . Matthew has achieved great success in the face of incredible challenges!

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