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

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 riders’ lives.  Over time, our riders’ progress is both rewarding and remarkable.  Each rider shows improvement in different ways.  We have witnessed nonverbal riders who have become inspired to communicate and speak.  Another rider came to their first lesson using a walker and has steadily gained the strength to walk without assistance.  Many riders achieve steadily increasing levels of independence from the assistance of our volunteer leaders and side walkers.  Other riders 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 for individuals with special needs.  Individual programs assist each rider 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.

What is Therapeutic Riding?


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

Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Riding Center (CFTRC) is an equestrian program providing horseback riding lessons and hippotherapy to the special needs population.  We provide a personalized horsemanship program designed to achieve the maximum therapeutic benefit for each rider. 

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

Our Story

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

Who is PATH?

Hippotherapy comes from the Greek word “hippos” or horse.  Hippotherapy uses the movement of the horse to provide outpatient physical, occupational or speech therapies to individuals with movement dysfunction.  The horse’s rhythmic and repetitive movement is similar to a human’s movement while walking.  This movement helps improve strength, endurance, flexibility, posture and trunk control, while also working on communication, cognitive and behavioral capabilities.  

What is Hippotherapy?


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.

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


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.