When Wood's Edge Equestrian Center owner, Katy Harcsar, built her barn she knew she wanted to be able to accommodate equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) in the future. With that in mind, she paid close attention to every little detail in the design of the facility to ensure it would be accessible and could someday be the home of an EAAT program. Little did she know that only a few short months after the barn was completed, that dream would become a reality. As PATH Intl. Certified instructors teaching at a local therapeutic riding center, Katy and co-worker, Dionne Newton, saw a void in services for individuals who were being "graduated" from the local center. While these individuals could ride independently, Katy and Dionne knew they would struggle to be successful in a traditional riding lesson program. In cooperation with the local center, they began offering services through Rider's Edge Ability Centered Horsemanship, more commonly known as REACH, to eight riders with disabilities in the spring of 2016. The program continues to grow and now serves riders of all abilities, ranging from independent riders to those who require a full team of volunteers.
REACH serves riders ages 4 and up with physical, emotional, cognitive and mental challenges in an inclusive environment. We believe in a hands-on approach to learning and encourage our participants to be involved in all aspects of horsemanship. In addition to riding, we know that grooming, saddling and feeding the horses all offer unique opportunities for learning and growth as equestrians, but there are also many physical and mental benefits to these activities as well. We encourage independence in a safe, inclusive environment where individual needs and goals are our primary consideration. There is a reason we chose "Ability Centered Horsemanship" as our name instead of "Therapeutic Riding". We truly focus on abilities, not disabilities and horsemanship, not just riding!
REACH is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and a PATH Intl. Member Center
Website photo credits: Iris & Me Photography and Gina Elder