Equine Assisted Services

What we offer

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Program Operations

Because of the variety of services we offer, we are able to serve a wide variety of individuals at High Hopes. Our participants range from children on the Autism Spectrum, teens in need of confidence, adults with cognitive delays, to people with anxiety and depression.

Not sure if we could serve you? Just submit an inquiry to check.

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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.

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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.

Trails

Trails

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

How do I become a participant?

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Process for participation

Our process for 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 $50) 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
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Costs and Financial Aid

The full cost of service for an Equine Assisted Activity is $161 per person per session. Due to generous donations from community members and organizations, High Hopes subsidizes 67% of tuition for participants. Our fee for service is $55 per person per session. The cost for the full Academic Semester is $1705 and the cost for the full Summer Semester is $495.

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.

Volunteers

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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