Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding at Patchwork Farm

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The benefits of therapeutic riding, long recognized by a select group of equine therapists, gained national attention after James Brady, press secretary to then-President Ronald Reagan, was shot during an assassination attempt on the President's life. Paralyzed, Brady turned to hippotherapy to help him in the rehabilitation process.

Twenty years later, equine facilitated therapy is recognized the world over as being instrumental in helping individuals with disabilities to conquer both physical and the mental challenges.


There are a variety of associations across the country that specialize in equine facilitated therapy, and the best known of these is the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA). Formed in 1969, NARHA has helped thousands of disabled clients through the United States and Canada meet the challenges brought on by their particular handicaps. There are now hundreds of NARHA-associated riding centers, and a stable with this affiliation guarantees a certain standard of professionalism, knowledge, and safety.

NARHA runs a rigorous certification program that can be likened to obtaining a pilot’s license. Before certification, instructors must have a certain amount of teaching hours with an accredited therapeutic riding program. Upon completion of the time requirements, candidates must take a written test, as well as an on-site test demonstrating their knowledge around the horse and the client. They must be certified in CPR and First Aid, and have those skills updated yearly.

Patchwork Farm, LLC is a NARHA center and has a NARHA Certified Instructor on staff.


From the Greek word "hippos" which means horse, hippotherapy is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse. Specially trained physical, occupational and speech therapists use this medical treatment for clients who have movement dysfunction. Clients who may benefit from hippotherapy can have a variety of diagnoses: examples include Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Developmental Delay, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Autism and Learning or Language Disabilities. However, hippotherapy is not for every client. Each potential client must be evaluated on an individual basis by specially trained health professionals.
Patchwork Farm, LLC hosts Renee Maddox a Certified Therapist who uses our facility and school horses to provide services for her clients. .

Volunteering at Patchwork Farm

The important work done at Patchwork Farm by the Therapists cannot take place without the help of volunteers to serve as Leaders and Side-Walkers. Be a part of something positive and worthwhile in our beautiful natural setting- Be a Patchwork Farm Volunteer!

























Bob during HippoPhoto courtesy of: SusanKFriedland