Great and Small provides Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) to children and adults of all ages affected by a range of physical, developmental, emotional, and learning disabilities. Through a supportive and therapeutic engagement with horses we strengthen and empower our riders, helping them develop their full potential.
What We Do
Great and Small is a private, non-profit community based program, founded in 1998, that provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons to persons with a wide range of physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities. We serve students with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsey and Multiple Sclerosis, among other challenges.
Great and Small provides an opportunity for those with disabilities to experience the joy and therapeutic effect of horses and we empower our students to learn the art of riding in harmony with their specific needs. The movement of the horse is a natural strengthening agent for people with balance issues or impairments in the trunk and lower extremities. Learning to ride also instills confidence, provides a sense of accomplishment and is inherently fun.
Who We Are
We are a partner with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission at the Rickman Farm Horse Park in Boyds, Maryland. Our students come from the Montgomery County Public Schools, several private schools, and the local community at large. Great and Small is also proud to serve as a
pre-approved Student Service Learning Site for the Montgomery County Public Schools.
Great and Small believes that the essential qualities of power and sensitivity embodied in the horse can strengthen and empower persons of all ages
My experience of children with disabilities is that they are frequently not in charge of even the smallest parts of their own destiny. But, when you physically pick them up and put them on a 1,500 lb. horse, there is this wonderful sensation of them finally, not only being in charge of their own destiny, but another huge animal and that is very powerful.
Sara Phelps | Founder, Great and Small
You don't have to take our word for it, here is what our community has to say about Great and Small...
Having heard a bit about therapeutic horseback riding, I was curious how my autistic daughter would respond to it. I shouldn’t have wondered; she took to it like a girl to a horse! She’s been riding for two years now and has really developed some impressive instincts and skills that I wouldn’t have thought possible before she started riding. Every staff member and volunteer at Great and Small has assisted with her skill development with their patience, creativity, and positive attitude. And I am thrilled every time I get to see how proud she is of herself. I feel very fortunate for having found Great and Small for our daughter!
David Godoy, Student
I am from Ecuador, South America. Therapeutic horseback riding has been a great experience for me as an individual with special needs. Not only do I enjoy riding the horse, I love it! I am also very appreciative of the help and love of my trainers, Tania, Laurie and Courtney, who help me every time I come for class. Riding has helped tremendously in making lots of progress such as strengthening my legs and my whole body, and also helps me to stay healthy and in good shape. I’ve been going to horseback riding for approximately two months and in these two months, I’ve been making lots of progress. Horseback riding is also helping me prepare for Special Olympics in each sport that I do, especially cycling. Riding has helped me to pedal a lot faster! In every sport that I do, no matter what, I always keep a positive mind and never give up, and that is going to help me to continue making progress with my horseback riding. Thank you very much Laurie, Tania and Courtney for all of your time, dedication and help that you give me. Gracias mis amigas!
David & Andrea, Parents
Our son absolutely loves riding at Great and Small. Although his language skills are limited, he talks about the horses all week long. Since he’s started with the program, we’ve noticed that he’s more comfortable in social situations and that he has an easier time attending to tasks. But the real value comes from the fun of riding. There’s a real bond between him and the horses that’s truly special.
I want to thank the Great and Small Program. It has helped my two boys a great deal. Both are learning disabled and dyslectic. My older boy has always had an anger problem. Since he learned how to ride and take care of horses, his attitude changed completely. I have never seen him so focused. My younger son lacked self-confidence. He has also improved greatly by riding. The boys enjoy the horses so much that they like to stay after their lessons to help out and hope to volunteer someday.
In addition to our program herd, Great and Small runs a small, dedicated boarding operation which includes a private seven-stall barn just for our boarders, and three dedicated field board fields with oversize run-ins. Field board is $435/month and stall board is $600/month. Perks include a large indoor arena with premium footing and an outdoor arena (both lighted) as well as miles of trails. Board includes monthly dewormer, fecals, and holding horses signed up for our whole-herd routine vet and farrier vists. We work hard to provide the highest quality care possible, with small turnout groups and large pastures, premium Purina feeds twice a day, barn staff who live on site, and a management team with decades of equestrian and facility management experience.
We currently have one opening in small-group field board (separate herds) as of Spring 2022.
Great and Small is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization and complied with all federal laws for reporting financial information. Our Federal Tax ID # (FEIN) is 52-2012519.
Great and Small has a GuideStar Seals of Transparency indicating that we have provided key information to our GuideStar profile. By providing up-to-date information, we allow potential donors and funders to make educated decisions.