EQUINES - What Makes a Good Therapy Partner?

Preferred Age: The ideal age range of a therapy horse/equine for our program would be 10-20 years old.

Gender: Geldings preferred, mares accepted; no stallions, no exceptions.

Height: We prefer horses/equines under 16 hands.

Soundness: Must have a free moving stride with no physical issues that would cause the animal to be uncomfortable (with or without a rider) at the walk, trot, and canter. Must be serviceably sound and comfortable with limited (reasonable) maintenance. Minor arthritis issues are acceptable.

Condition and Conformation: Must be in good physical condition. (Horses/equines that come from a pasture life with limited handling, or have had several years off are may not be good candidates for our program.)

Personality/Temperament: It takes a very special horse/equine to be a therapy partner. These horses/equines are tolerant of their environment and of their riders. They enjoy attention, have great ground manners, and are able to handle having people on all sides of them while being ridden. Because our clients actions are not 100% predictable, great therapy equines tolerate the occasional shout or spastic movement. These equines are by nature, very quiet and forgiving. Must not bite, buck, rear, kick, pace, or wind-suck.

Training: Must be completely saddle broke and trained (any discipline). The BARN is not able to accept green or untrained horses.

Trial Period: Owner/donor must agree to at least a 30 to 60 day trial period where their horse is stabled at our facility while its suitability for therapeutic riding and hippotherapy is thoroughly evaluated. During this trial period, the horse will be exposed to therapy equipment, mounting blocks, walkers, wheelchairs, toys, balls, sidewalkers, leaders, loud noises, sudden movements, unbalanced riding weight, and applied pressure on all parts of the body. The horse's body language and reactions will be noted and graded. Also taken into consideration will be: 1. Does the horse accept and comply with what is being asked? 2. Does the horse demonstrate a patient and tolerant attitude? 3. How quickly does the horse improve upon any negative reactions?

If at any point in the trial period the equine is found to be unsuitable for use in the programs offered at The BARN, the owner/donor must agree to remove the horse from The BARN property within 7 days of being notified, either by phone on in writing, that the donation is declined. If the equine is not removed within 7 days, The BARN reserves the right to rehome the equine as it deems appropriate.