Special Equestrians, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) therapeutic riding program located in Warrington, Pennsylvania, was founded by Kathy Quinn in Doylestown in 1982, and has provided 34 years of mission-driven work to improve the physical, mental and emotional well being of individuals with disabilities through the equine experience. Our programs use the powerful healing properties of riding and interacting with horses to help individuals with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities develop new skills and reach higher levels of independence.
Special Equestrians is a Registered PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International Center; our facility, staff, and programming meet all relevant PATH Intl. Certification standards. Our staff includes an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, and a certified Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association Instructor.
We are committed to serving anyone who can benefit from our services, regardless of their ability to pay. Special Equestrians’ general lesson fee covers slightly less than 50 percent of the actual cost to the organization of providing the service. If families cannot afford to pay this amount, they submit scholarship applications. We provide scholarships for roughly 25 percent of our riders.
In 2015, we scheduled 4,575 lessons for 349 different riders. Our volunteers served more than 12,000 hours. Each week, with 15 horses, 16 mostly part-time staff members, and 100 loyal volunteers, we serve more than 130 children and adults, ages 3-70, from the greater Philadelphia area. We worked successfully with riders who meet criteria for more than 60 different disabling diagnoses, including Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, behavioral disorders, brain injuries, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Representing diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, 80 percent of our riders were 18 or younger.
In 1999, Special Equestrians was generously offered a 30-year lease on a purpose-built facility situated on 40+ acres Warrington Township Preserved Open-Space acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Our state-of-the-art facility features 28 stalls, the Chapman Outdoor Ring, an indoor arena, the Village Improvement Assocation Round Pen, observation and volunteer lounges, conference space, the Widener Therapy room, and adminstrative offices. Our innovative Sensory Trail offers 24 interactive experiences for horse and rider, many created through Eagle Scout projects. The most extensive work on the trail has been through the volunteer efforts of Comcast families on Comcast Cares Day, 2008, 2013, and 2016.
Our riders participate in individual and group lessons, summer camp, horse shows at home, and the annual Handicapped Riders Division of the Devon Horse Show.
We are proud to be a PATH International member center, giving our community the assurance that we adhere to the highest standards involving the safety of our riders, certification of our instructors, and proper maintenance of our facility.
We are also honored to be a recipient of grants every year from 2012 through 2015 from the EQUUS Foundation. We are proud to be recognized as an Equine Welfare Network Messenger.
Our therapists are certified by the American Hippotherapy Association.
Our staff includes an Equine Growth And Learning Association certified instructor.