Therapeutic Horsemanship

Our commitment is to offer an improved quality of life, in mind and body, for all that walk through our doors. Our teachings are the guide and the movement and soul of the horse are the vessel.

Thorncroft has been a leader in the therapeutic horsemanship community for over 50 years.

The farm has paved the way for many centers across the country to be able to share this tradition of Horses Healing Humans. This versatile recreation, taught in an environment of respect and inclusion, accommodates a wide range of abilities and specialized needs.

While learning horsemanship, mounted or unmounted, our students experience a multitude of physiological benefits. 

  • Builds core strength and coordination
  • Improves postural control
  • Builds upper and lower extremity strength
  • Stretches muscles and reduces spasticity
  • Improves fine motor skills while holding the reins or handle or playing games on horseback while exploring sensory elements on our Zepka Discovery Trail
  • Improves gross motor skills while mounting the horse, using the stirrups, playing games while on the horse
  • Develops proprioception, which is an individual’s awareness of their body position

Cognitively, riders will grow in a number of ways.

  • Improve sequencing through the development of coordinated directives
  • Challenges listening skills of riders of all ages
  • Encourages decision making through motor planning

Psychologically, our students may experience a number of outcomes

  • Increases independence
  • Develops patience and trust
  • It gives riders with mobility devices a sense of freedom
  • Gives riders a sense of responsibility
  • Had a profound effect on their self-esteem and quality of life

Socially, our students gain a community of our staff, horses, volunteers and fellow riders.

  • Social participation and inclusion
  • Students learn to develop healthy friendships
  • Encourages a love and respect for animals and personal bonds.
  • Teaches empathy

When age and developmentally appropriate, we incorporate educational elements into lessons such as

  • Students will learn numbers, color, shapes and animals.
  • Develops speech and coordination
  • Improves problem solving abilities

Support the Farm!

Since 1969 Thorncroft has provided a safe haven for children and adults with and without special needs. The Farm now includes 70 acres of open space, a conference center, office space, and two beautiful indoor arenas… but the work does not stop there.

Learn more about the many ways you can support Thorncroft.