In therapeutic riding (also called adaptive riding) we teach horsemanship skills adapted to each rider’s ability level. The instructor, rider, and family work together to set goals. Lessons are highly individualized in order to target those goals and progress toward independence. While working on the overarching goals, we are sure to emphasize the fun side of getting to be with horses.This is one activity that should not feel like work!
Great and Small’s instructors are certified to teach therapeutic riding through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl). They complete annual continuing education requirements so that they are current on industry best practices.
Lessons are typically scheduled weekly. Private and small group sessions are available depending on the rider’s needs and lesson availability. To begin the registration process, please submit the Participant Application.
Therapeutic and Adaptive Riding
Kids Inclusive Camp
We filled Kids Inclusive Camp in less than a week this year with a long wait list! We look forward to hosting this camp again in 2022.
Inclusive Camp is for kids aged 5-10, looking to learn more about riding and horsemanship skills. Activities include riding lessons (including trail rides and mounted games), horsemanship skills – grooming, tacking, bathing, leading, and horse-related games and crafts. This camp is inclusive, siblings and friends are welcome!
Youth Horsemanship Camp
Calling all 5th - 12th graders! Youth Camp at Great and Small is designed to foster self confidence, communication and social skills for students with learning differences. Activities include riding lessons, horsemanship skills, teambuilding and social skills activities.
Our Youth Horsemanship Camp was a great success and we look forward to hosting this camp in 2022!
For more information please contact Program Director Paige Clark at email@example.com.
Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL)
Great and Small offers unmounted horsemanship lessons to participants interested in learning skills related to horse health and care, horse handling, barn maintenance and equine body language. This program allows participants to form a unique bond with the horse by learning how to communicate and work with the horse on the ground. Other benefits include improved strength, coordination, confidence, self-esteem and social skills. In addition to EAL programs on-site, Great and Small also partners with assisted living facilities across Montgomery County to bring EAL directly to the residents at their place of living, which encourages mobility, social engagement, and physical activity.
Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP)
EFP is an experiential form of therapy that incorporates horses into the treatment process. Horses’ sensitivity to subtle changes in their environment make them perfect partners for mental health professionals who work with clients to foster a wide range of life and coping skills. In this interactive process, a licensed mental health professional collaborates with a PATH International Equine Specialist and suitable equines to address psychotherapy goals set by the mental health professional and the client.
Programming for Veterans and Military Family Members
Increasingly, the military community is recognizing that Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) provide unique, significant benefits to veterans living with the effects of a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound incurred during military service.
Likewise, all interested veterans and military family members often can enjoy the sense of community that participating or volunteering at an EAAT center offers. Great and Small provides EAAT to veterans and military family members through either individual or group programming. We also encourage veterans and military family members to volunteer with us!
We offer adaptive horseback riding and/or equine-assisted learning (EAL) to veterans and military family members. These programs offer unique benefits, including forming a bond or special connection with one of our horses.
In addition, together with partnering mental health professionals, Great and Small offers equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP). In this unique form of experiential psychotherapy, a team consisting of a mental health professional, equine specialist and specially-selected equines collaborate with the veteran to address his or her treatment goals in a dynamic, outdoor environment.
Please complete a Participant Application or contact Paige Clark , Program Director, with any questions. You can also reach us by phone at 301-349-0075.
Veterans who meet our eligibility requirements for adaptive riding or EAL can enjoy a first ride or EAL session free of charge. We also have limited in-house scholarship funding for veterans and military family members, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis upon request.
Great and Small is an approved PATH Intl. Center for Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) participation. This means that any veteran registered with WWP can call the WWP Warrior Resource Center and ask for a PATH Intl. Equine Therapy referral. When making the request, the veteran can name Great and Small as the center of choice and will subsequently be placed with our center pending approval. WWP typically funds 10 lessons for each veteran who applies.
Air Warrior Courage Foundation (AWCF) funds therapeutic riding for children with special needs from military families. AWCF has an ongoing application process and more information can be accessed via their website.
Our dynamic, flexible group programming options can be specifically tailored to address the goals and meet the needs of veteran groups. Equine-Assisted Learning activities emphasize mindfulness, leadership, self-confidence and positive social interactions/connections. Past veterans who participated in our group programming provided the following feedback:
“The WHOLE thing was fantastic. There was no particular one aspect or activity, it was the entire experience laid up on top of itself which was very powerful.”
“I felt very listened to and valued and that the volunteer I was speaking with was very genuine, sincere and cared greatly about helping the group.”
“I found that my fears and doubts dissipated as I worked with the horse during grooming. I felt myself zoning out as I did that – it was very therapeutic.” (This veteran shared that she had no intention of participating as she was afraid of larger animals, but felt all her fears were put at ease by the staff).
“I smiled more there than I had in a long time.”
Please complete a Group Inquiry Form or Contact Us for more information about scheduling group activities for veterans or military family members.
Articles about EAAT and Benefits for Veterans:
“Study Shows Therapeutic Horseback Riding Significantly Reduces PTSD Symptoms in Military Veterans.” The Equine Chronicle. March 23, 2016.
“Veterans Conquer Depression with Equine Therapy.” VA Health News. May 23, 2017.
“Veterans with PTSD Are Turning to Horses for Healing.” Military Times. March 7, 2018.
School and Group Programming
Great and Small offers dynamic, flexible group programming options, formatted for either a one-time visit or weekly participation. We have group opportunities for both Hands on Horses (groundwork with horses) and therapeutic horseback riding.
Our flexible curriculum options can be tailored to suit the needs of almost any group.
A special education class participates in a weekly horsemanship club to learn the basics of horse care and riding
Veterans groups engage in a one-time Equine Learning experience to cultivate mindfulness, flexible communication skills and team building
Women in recovery engage in a one-time Equine Learning experience designed to foster self-care, self-confidence, appropriate boundary setting
A high school special education class field trip introduces participants to careers related to farms and horse care
We can even come to your location! Hands on Horses travels to bring the solace and joy of interacting with horses to individuals residing in assisted living facilities.
Below are some of the organizations we have partnered with:
Katherine Thomas School
Community Support Services
Avery House Sober Living Home
College Living Experience
Quince Orchard High School
Sherwood High School
Gaithersburg High School
Lakelands Middle School
Montgomery Village Middle School
Clopper Mill Elementary School
The Auburn School
The Ivymount School
National Academy Foundation
Head Injury Rehabilitation & Referral Services
Please complete a Group Inquiry Form or contact us to discuss how your group could benefit from Equine Assisted Activities.