Join us for Gallop!

Join High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Saturday, June 11, 2016, and dance the night away to music from the 1920s through present day during an inspirational and elegant evening to benefit High Hopes’ programs and participants. Gallop is one of Eastern Connecticut’s premier gala events and features the toe-tapping sound of The Sultans at High Hopes’ facility, which is transformed into the ideal setting for a sit-down dinner, silent auction, concert and dancing.  Event proceeds benefit the programs and participants of High Hopes’ year-round equine-assisted therapy programs.

Click here for tickets and more information.

Gallop is sponsored by Northstar Wealth Partners, LLC.

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Join the movement #ShareHighHopes

Newman’s Own Foundation is offering High Hopes a challenge – if we raise $50,000 by June 30, 2016, they will donate $25,000!

Can you help us meet our challenge and give the gift of hope to support the 1,700 participants and families of High Hopes?

You can take these four easy steps to join the movement #ShareHighHopes:

  1. Take a photo of someone or something that gives you hope – it can be a photo with friends, family or a favorite pet.
  2. Share your photo and your story of hope on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Be sure to tag @highhopestr, and use #ShareHighHopes.
  3. If you’re social media shy, just email your photo and story to
  4. Show your support by giving a gift to help us cover nearly 80% of our costs, so that our programs remain affordable for the men, women and children we serve.

You can give participants like Cullen (pictured above) hope.

Cullen’s story: Over the course of the past two years, this diminutive five-year-old with a magnificent spirit has progressed from cruising, to a walker, to poles, to supervised unassisted walking! Cullen believes he will run, and that he will run fast! When riding, he moves as quickly and as fluidly as his peers. Riding at High Hopes helps Cullen with core strengthening and also boosts his confidence for the hurdles ahead.

Thank you for your support of our mission to give others hope!


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Join us for Horse Show Days

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is celebrating the accomplishments of its participants during Horse Show Days, May 16 – 21, 2016, at our farm in Old Lyme. This is a highly anticipated time for our riders, who are children and adults with cognitive, physical, psychological and developmental disabilities.  All year they look forward to this week when they get to show off their talent and determination to friends, family and the community.

Each participant was awarded a High Hopes ribbon and a commemorative ribbon. You can recognize the accomplishments of our participants by taking out an ad in our Horse Show Days Program Book. Click here to learn more.

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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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We’re thinking summer! Camp registration now open!

Registration is now open for our youth equestrian summer camp for area children ages 3 to 12. High Hopes offers summer campers equine-related educational opportunities in partnership with our more than 20 horses and ponies. Each camp session is designed to meet the needs of participant groups by age and/or riding skill level, and offers children diverse equine-based activities conducted by a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

Campers build and/or develop horsemanship skills both on and off the horse by grooming and tacking their horse each morning in addition to a daily riding lesson. Other activities include gymnastics on horseback, carriage driving, inclusive team-building games and equine arts and crafts. No previous riding experience is necessary.

Four weekly sessions are scheduled beginning the week of July 11, 2016, with each session limited to 16 participants. Sessions are Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers also are needed for each session. Click here to learn more.

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

Learn about Montville students who are making healing connections, and how High Hopes ensures its horses receive a happy retirement after years of service to our participants. Click here.



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Save the date! Gallop Dine and Dance is June 11!

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 11, 2016, when High Hopes transforms its indoor arena for a galloping good time!

Enjoy music from the 1920s through present day featuring The Sultans. Proceeds from the evening, which is High Hopes’ premier annual event, will benefit the programs and participants of High Hopes’ year-round equine-assisted therapy programs.

More information to come!

In the meantime, if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, click here for more information.

For more information about the event, contact Trudy Burgess at or call 860-434-1974, ext. 123.



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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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Want to learn to ride? Community lessons begin soon!

High Hopes 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 February 26, through May 21, 2016. Riders can select a six-week, or 12-week series.

High Hopes’ Community Lesson Schedule:
• Adult Lessons: Fridays at 5:30 p.m. beginning February 26
• Adolescent Lessons: Saturdays at 3 p.m. beginning February 27
• Youth Lessons: Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning February 27

Fees are $360 for six-weeks, or $720 for the 12-week series. For more information, contact Sarah Carlson at, or 860-434-1974, ext. 115.

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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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Volunteer Cancellation Form now available on website

Volunteers can now use our website to cancel for their assigned volunteer time and sign up for a substitute position.

Please only use the website to cancel a minimum of 48 hours in advance, so that the staff has time to fill your position.  If you must cancel within 48 hours of your scheduled time, we ask that you call us at (860) 434-1974 for immediate assistance.

If you do need to cancel, please consider taking a substitute position on another day.  This will ensure that all High Hopes participants are able to enjoy our activities safely and effectively.  Current sub needs can be found at Current Volunteers.

Use this link, or visit the Volunteer section of our website, for volunteer cancellations.

Volunteer Cancellation Form

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How to Be Your Volunteers’ Best Resource

Read all about it in the Summer 2015 issue of PATH Intl’s STRIDES magazine or click on the link below:

How to Be Your Volunteers’ Best Resource STRIDES Summer 2015

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Congratulations, Lauren Fitzgerald!

Please join us in congratulating Lauren Fitzgerald, High Hopes Lesson Manager and Instructor, on being selected to receive the 2015 PATH Intl. Sis Gould Driving Recognition Award. Named after longtime PATH Intl. driving advocate and High Hopes founder Sis Gould, this award recognizes PATH Intl. members who exemplify outstanding dedication to the promotion of carriage driving for individuals with disabilities.

Sis saw carriage driving as way to help participants who could not sit on a horse’s back. She helped design a wheelchair-accessible driving cart for High Hopes and was instrumental in establishing standards for driving in therapeutic riding programs.

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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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Registration Open for Dom Schramm Eventing Clinic

We’re excited to welcome back Advanced Level Eventer Dom Schramm for a two-day Eventing Clinic in Old Lyme on June 25 & 26, 2016. The clinic is designed to help attendees gain confidence over fences and will focus on riders’ personal goals in a supportive, small group setting.

Saturday’s sessions are at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding and will focus on flat and grid work, while Sunday’s sessions take place at nearby Lord Creek Farm’s picturesque cross country course with elements up to the Novice level.

Dom Schramm Eventing Clinic Fees:

  • One day: Register before June 10:  $150 cash/check, $160 credit card; $175/$185 after June 10.
  • Two days: Register before June 10: $300 cash/check, $310 credit card; $350/$360 after June 10.
  • Auditor fee: $25 per day
  • Stabling: $50 per day

Click here to register.  For more information about Dom Schramm, visit

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Welcome new Program Director Caitlin Nuhn

Meet our new Program Director Caitlin Nuhn of Westbrook, CT.  Caitlin is a life-long equestrian whose association with High Hopes goes back to her high school years when she volunteered with us!

Caitlin is a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where she earned a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. Most recently, she served as Director of Training and Employment at Vista Life Innovations, Madison, CT, where she provided organizational leadership and oversaw all aspects of program services.

“Caitlin is a wonderful addition to our team,” said High Hopes’ Executive Director Kitty Stalsburg. “Her extensive work within the Human Services field and direct client contact will bring of a high level of expertise to High Hopes.”

Next time you visit High Hopes, please stop in the Program office and introduce yourself!

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