Good Afternoon . . . High Hopes phones and internet are up and running!

Good Afternoon. Our phones and internet are back and up and running!  Sorry for any inconvenience!

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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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Read all about it! The High Hopes Rider is out!

The Fall 2016 Rider Newsletter is hot off the press.  Inside this edition, read all about it—Touching Veteran’s Lives . . . The Equus Effect Program; High Hopes successful partnership with Camp Harkness and a very special highlight of High Hopes’ young participant, Matthew Scotella,  who was just awarded the PATH Int’l 2016 Youth Equestrian of the Year!  Sit back, relax and enjoy the fall issue of RIDER!  Happy Fall 2016!



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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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High Hopes Offers Riding Lessons to the Public

Learn2Ride Community Riding Lessons Winter Session !

Lessons begin week of November 28th and run for six consecutive weeks.

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 November 28, 2016.

WINTER LESSON SERIES: beginning November 28, 2016

Lessons run for 6 consecutive weeks.   6 weeks- $360

Youth/Adolescents Group: Saturdays at 3:00pm

Adult Group: Tuesdays at 5:30pm

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





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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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Calling all kids! Winter Camp 2017

Come Meet Smokey & Al !   
Looking for fun activities this winter during winter break?  High Hopes is pleased to offer a 2-day winter camp  for children ages 6-12, February 20-21, 2017, 9am-1pm.  The session will be full of team building games & equine activities– carriage driving,   riding, grooming and arts & crafts.  For more information, please contact Sarah Carlson,                                , (860) 434-1974, ext. 115.                                                                                                                                                                                                     
 sign up today

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Happy New Year! Riley, Fanny, Lauren and YOU making great strides together . . .


Happy New Year to all our friends and family of High Hopes.  Thank you for embracing our mission with the hope of building a great year ahead.   Let us introduce you to the essence of our mission and appeal.

Meet Riley . . .  She is a sweet and funny fifteen-year-old who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  By participating in therapeutic riding activities, Riley develops life skills that help her and her family meet ASD hurdles they encounter daily.    

Meet Fanny . . .  “I Love You, Fanny” says Riley.  Fanny is one of the reasons Riley is able to say those four words.  It’s Fanny’s gentle disposition and the soothing motion of her gait that give Riley confidence and make her feel safe enough to practice and develop her verbal communication skills.  The human-horse bond is at the core of our Equine therapy and is what makes therapeutic riding so effective.    

Meet Lauren . . .  As the instructor, Lauren facilitates Riley’s interaction with Fanny and leads them to achieve their established therapeutic goals.  Our goal has been to increase Riley’s ability to communicate verbally, like being able to say, ” I Love You, Fanny”.

And YOU! . . .  We need you on the team.  It’s because of supporters like you that Riley, Fanny and Lauren have been able to achieve positive benefits as it takes over 31,000 volunteer hours to sustain our programs and facility for one year.  Our 680 amazing volunteers do it all and it is your contributions that truly make it all happen.  Your donations directly benefit participants like Riley because 80% of every dollar donated supports our program services and facilities–and, provides financial aid for those who can not afford therapeutic riding lessons.                                                                     

Thank you for embracing our mission in 2017. 

To make a donation today, go to

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Judith’s Story

Judith had always loved riding horses and caring for them. So much so that she owned her own horse and ran a barn for several years. After her second hip replacement at age 54, Judith said it nearly broke her heart when she found she could no longer ride due to limitations of motion and stiffness from arthritis.

Five years later, Judith contacted High Hopes Therapeutic Riding to ask if they could help her solve her problem and get her back on a horse.

Today Judith not only rides, she thrives! “I walk, trot and canter and I’m a better rider today than I was before my hip replacements,” she said. “My instructor Lauren pushes me and gets me to do things I never thought I could do. I believe one of the most respectful things you can do for someone with a disability is to treat them as if their learning is unlimited.”

The benefits of therapeutic riding have not only improved Judith’s balance, coordination and posture, it also has increased her self-confidence.

“I recently had some unexpected life changes that were devastating, and the staff and horses at High Hopes helped get me through the experience. I appreciate having had the opportunity to heal my spirit and can now return the kindness.”

When she’s not riding, Judith volunteers in the office or uses her artistic talent to create welcome signs for High Hopes visitors. And some days she brings horses from the paddock to the barn and grooms them. “To know that I’m entrusted to care for a High Hopes horse is something that’s very precious.”

You can read more about High Hopes and Judith in the March/April issue of Connecticut Horse Magazine.

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#GivingTuesday is November 29, 2016

High Hopes is participating in this global day dedicated to giving.

We encourage you to use #GivingTuesday as an opportunity to help improve the lives of people with cognitive, physical and emotional disabilities through the benefits of therapeutic riding – right here in our community.

No matter the size of your gift, your generosity will help us reach even more individuals and have a greater impact on the lives of men, women and children, right here in Connecticut.

Join the worldwide #GivingTuesday movement and click here to make a difference in your community!

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Thank you High Hopes Volunteers!

Volunteers are the key to the good work High Hopes does bringing Therapeutic Horsemanship to those who need it the most.  We’d like to take a moment to show our appreciation for your service.  Your spirit and energy makes High Hopes a special place for one and all.  Click on the video below for a message just for you, our volunteers!

Congratulations to our 2015 Volunteer Award recipients!  They will be formally acknowledged at our Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 18th from 1p.m.-2p.m.  All volunteers are welcome to join us on Sunday for the meeting and for our Open Barn Day from 11a.m.-1p.m..


               Nancy Cash Program Volunteer of the Year:  Neil Mann

            With nearly 700 hours in the past seven years, Neil upholds the High Hopes values by consistently being welcoming and supportive of riders, volunteers, staff, and all those whom he encounters. In addition to regularly volunteering two days a week, he often substitutes in the riding program and regularly volunteers for special events. He’s the go-to guy for the Holiday Market raffle, putting his winning personality (and cowboy hat) to work selling tickets and promoting High Hopes to hundreds of guests.


                                 Office Volunteer of the Year:  Carol Colangeli

               Carol is long standing, dedicated volunteer who is a leader among the office volunteers. She is always willing to sub, often trains new volunteers and takes initiative with reception duties. Her personal experience with a grandchild who has special needs makes her very understanding of families coming to High Hopes. She relates to and advocates for participants and volunteers, helping to connect them to the staff or information they need. Carol communicates well, checking in on Mondays to share Saturday updates. Carol’s loyalty and welcoming personality make her a vital part of High Hopes.


Congratulations to volunteers who have reached 1,000 hours of service!

Sky Todd

Deb Welles

Daryl Hornby

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