Equine Assisted Services

What we offer


Therapeutic Riding

High Hopes accommodates all four elements of therapeutic riding as defined by PATH, International: Recreation, Therapy, Sport, and Medicine. We do this in a unique way through our applied interdisciplinary team approach that includes consulting physical, occupational, speech and language, and expressive therapists, educators, and mental health practitioners.  Lesson activities are structured to teach riding skills through exercises, games, trails, and more. There is a 180lb weight limit for riding and several diagnostic contraindications.

Please see below note on accepting new applicants.


Therapeutic Carriage Driving

Carriage driving provides a recreational, social, physical experience which offers mental challenge comparable to riding. Physical benefits from carriage driving include increased core strength, improvement in balance, and increased fine and gross motor coordination. Carriage driving encourages the development of self-confidence and empowers individuals to make choices and demonstrate a relationship with the horse as various maneuvers are learned. It can improve the cognitive skills of sequencing, following directions, and differentiating between left and right, etc. Driving is a meaningful venue for pro-social interaction with other participants, the volunteers, instructors, and of course, the horse. It offers another opportunity for developing relationships, equine and human, of mutual respect and trust. Our carriage driving program serves a variety of people with a wide range of diagnoses.


Unmounted Equine Learning Program

Our Equine Learning Program (ELP) curriculum is designed to meet the individual needs of the participant. We can creatively plan curricula that address executive functions, emotional regulation, communication, theory of mind, problem solving, and more- all through horsemanship skills. The focus of ELP’s can be any combination of physical, sensory, emotional, cognitive/educational, or social and can serve a wide range of individuals. High Hopes has successfully partnered with various community organizations to provide ELP’s focusing on character development, memory care, veterans, mentored volunteering/job coaching, substance use/abuse, and domestic violence.


Youth Empowerment

The Youth Empowerment program is for children ages 5-14 who have experienced trauma. Join us this semester for a program that will run Tuesdays 4:00 – 5:00 pm through November 28 – March 12.

This fully unmounted curriculum is for small groups of up to 6 participants.

For more information please call us at 860.434.1974 or email us by clicking here.

Program Operations

Thank you for your interest in our programs.  Our mission at High Hopes has always been to support the mind, body and spirit of as many individuals with disabilities and challenging life circumstances as possible while continuing to provide the highest level of quality in our programs and interaction with our participants. At this time, we can not accept additional applicants for our waitlist. Please visit PATH International for a list of other programs and resources that might be of interest in Connecticut.

Thank you for your understanding and we hope to serve you in the near future!


Session schedule

Academic session: Runs from September-May with lessons all day and most evenings, Monday-Saturday. We begin scheduling our academic session participants in March/April, but welcome applications and new participants any time of the year.

Summer session: Runs from June-August with lessons afternoons/evenings, Monday-Thursday and all day on Friday.  We begin scheduling our summer session participants in April/May.

Download schedule

Lessons are taught by Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl) Certified Instructors, and weekly lesson plans are developed to meet the individualized needs of the participants.  Lesson length and group size are determined based on individual need, though most lessons are offered as small groups. We work diligently to create appropriate matches among lesson participants to ensure goal progress and attainment.

Our lessons are held year-round utilizing our indoor and outdoor arenas as well as our expansive trails.

Indoor Arena

Indoor Arena

180 ft. x 80 ft. with wheelchair friendly mounting ramp, EasyLift (Handi-Move Custom Lift), and viewing lounge. The indoor school incorporates multiple activity centers.

Outdoor Arena

Outdoor Arena

225 ft. x 100 ft. fully fenced, floodlit outdoor arena suitable for riding, driving and ELP.



Extensive trails of varying gradients, with multiple sensory-rich activities on each trail.

How do I become a participant?


Process for participation

Our process for existing participation:

  1. Complete Participant Registration.
  2. For Therapeutic Riding and Carriage Driving only (not required for Unmounted Equine Learning Program) have your physician complete our medical history and physicians statement.
  3. If the prospective participant sees a specialty provider (mental health professional, speech and language pathologist, physical/occupational therapist, etc) have them complete an additional form, Mental Health form or Therapist Form, including release for treatment.
  4. Once we have received all mandatory paperwork, our Program Team will review current lesson availability and will be in touch to schedule an in-person assessment (fee of $75) if we believe we have an appropriate spot. The in-person assessment allows you the opportunity to determine goodness of fit for Equine Assisted Services and resources necessary to support success.
Registration Form

Costs and Financial Aid

The full cost of service for an Equine Assisted Activity is $304 per person per session. Due to generous donations from community members and organizations, High Hopes subsidizes 75% of tuition for participants. Our fee for service is $75 per person per lesson. The cost for the full Academic Semester is $2250 and the cost for the full Summer Semester is $675.

With our commitment to accepting participants into our programs based on therapeutic need, regardless of financial means, we offer further financial aid assistance to those unable to pay the established fees.

With our commitment to accepting participants into our programs based on therapeutic need, regardless of financial means, we offer further financial aid assistance to those unable to pay the established fees. If you are in need of financial aid, click here.

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High Hopes Therapeutic Riding is located at 36 Town Woods Road, Old Lyme, CT.

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Volunteers are Our Life Force

Our volunteers donate their time to keep the programs at High Hopes staffed and running. We cannot do this without our High Hopes volunteer family.


Meet the Herd

Get to know all of our beautiful and intelligent horses who live for their work. These amazing creatures have been working wonders for years.

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