Equine Assisted Services

What we offer

We are excited to announce new horsemanship classes at High Hopes. These classes are 6-week sessions that have tailored curriculum which are geared to cover specific horse topics, and achieve both therapeutic and horsemanship goals.

Take a peek at some of our offerings!

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.


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.


Horsemanship for Parkinson’s

We invite individuals with Parkinson’s and their caretakers to participate in an 6-week program!

Tuesdays, June 25th through August 6th, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Connect with Horses
  • Learn groundwork, grooming & horsemanship skills
  • Space to sit and observe will be available throughout the lesson.

We are excited to announce that we now offer financial aid to help support the cost of your participation in our Parkinson’s! Classes are only $10 per session!

Contact Hayley Plas to RSVP at hplas@highhopestr.org / 860-434-1974 ext. 132.


Youth Empowerment Program

The Youth Empowerment program is for children and teens ages 9-16 who have experienced trauma. Join us for this six week program that will run every Tuesday starting July 16th from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Participants will build confidence, foster connections, and ignite a sense of purpose – all alongside our magnificent equine partners. This fully unmounted curriculum is for small groups of up to 6 participants.

To register and learn more, please contact Hayley Plas by emailing at hplas@highhopestr.org

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.

You May Also Like...

Have Questions or Just Want to Say Hey?

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

Contact Us

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.

Our Horses

Sign up for our newsletter