What is Therapeutic Riding?


Therapeutic riding promotes interaction and cooperation.  Riding is a social activity that encourages team play while providing a challenging and fun experience.


Therapeutic riding teaches sequential thinking and spatial awareness.  Other educational benefits to riding include improved listening skills and attention span.


The physical benefits of therapeutic riding include improving overall body strength and endurance.  Riding also encourages balance and coordination while increasing flexibility and relaxing muscles.


Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Riding Center (CFTRC) is an equestrian program providing horseback riding lessons and equine assisted therapy to the community.  We provide a personalized horsemanship program designed to achieve the maximum therapeutic benefit for each student. 

Each student joins CFTRC with specific abilities and goals.  We design an individual program to assist the student in meeting those goals.

Our Story

What Else Should I know?

"Horseback riding is a new skill that my daughter has learned since her injury.  She can only celebrate her progress in this pursuit.  It has helped her attitude to be around the young volunteers,  It has helped her posture, strength and helped her ability to talk.  It improves her pelvis mobility and helps her walk more naturally.  It's work but she likes it and she gets better because she continues to be willing to do it"

     Mary Donahue

Our program has a huge impact on our students’ lives.  Over time, our students’ progress is both rewarding and remarkable.  Each student shows improvement in different ways.  We have witnessed nonverbal students who have become inspired to communicate and speak.  Another student came to their first lesson using a walker and has steadily gained the strength to walk without assistance.  Many students achieve steadily increasing levels of independence from the assistance of our volunteer leaders and side walkers.  Other students are able to achieve the goal of riding a horse with little assistance from our volunteers.

How and Why Therapeutic Riding Works

Therapeutic riding (equine assisted therapy), when taught by a PATH International instructor, provides structured horsemanship programs.  Individual programs assist each student in meeting their goals while developing independent skills that often carry over to their everyday lives.  Benefits of therapeutic riding include: increased strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, sensory integration, self-confidence, patience, sequencing, improved hand and eye coordination and expansion of focus and control.


The psychological benefits of therapeutic riding include the development of discipline and control.  Riding also teaches patience and promotes self-confidence and relaxation.

Our Mission

At Compassionate Friends it is our mission to strengthen the body, mind and spirit of each person while fostering independence in a safe environment.

Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Riding Center is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International. 

Who is PATH?

PATH is a global authority, resource and advocate for equine assisted activities and therapies and the equines that inspire and enrich the human spirit.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Riding Center does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations.  These activities include, but are not limited to, acceptance of students, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors and provision of services.  We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all our students and family members, our staff, volunteers, and vendors.