A Warm Welcome from Dr. Carol R. Hansen, the Director of Equine Therapy Associates (ETA), a NARHA, PATH Int'l., Premier Center:
Welcome to ETA—a 501(c)3 charitable entity that supports a place of joyful learning and love for children and
horses in Montgomery County, Maryland. Founded in 1999, ETA is an accredited Premier
Center of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) now known as Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH Int'l.), providing a broad
range of specialized equine instruction in a private, beautiful setting on
a pesticide-free farm. ETA's certified instructors work closely with parents, physicians, teachers,
physical, occupational and other therapists, as well as our riders to craft the most effective and suitable
course of study to enhance the physical and emotional development of our students.
In addition, ETA's 90 minute private lessons provide two to three times as much contact time at roughly the same cost. If you seek the benefits of focused one-on-one instruction with a dedicated
staff in a clean barn overflowing with happy cats, nuzzling ponies and happy
students, please read on. We want to hear from you soon! Call us at (301) 972-7833 or e-mail Director@equinetherapyassociates.com
Dr. Carol Rae Hansen, Director
What Disabilities Does ETA focus on?
ETA offers lessons for individuals aged three and up, and focuses primarily
on learning disabilities, ADHD/ADD, sequencing disorders, processing disorders,
Autism, Cerebral Palsy, emotional disabilities, hearing impairments, mental
retardation, MS, Downs Syndrome, developmental delays, strokes, Fibromyalgia
Syndrome, speech impairments, and visual impairments.
Generally, due to constraints offered by space, equipment and the horses
that we use, we refer those with other types of disabilities and conditions
to other therapy programs nearby. However, we are happy to evaluate each potential
client to see if we can meet his or her needs.
ETA routinely collaborates with several outside providers to offer private and governmental grants and scholarships to ETA students, in addition to funding through its own generous scholarship program. Individuals with MS will
now also be able to receive an annual scholarship of nearly $400 for equine assisted
activities at ETA!
What Does Our Therapy Program Entail?
ETA is a unique NARHA, PATH Int'l., program that designs an individualized cognitive enrichment program for each client, each quarter of the year, using two to seven books that match the student's academic level. ETA also gives each student their own daily exercise program for use at home, which builds strength, flexibility, and endurance, as well as safety on their horse or pony!
The gentle therapy process of instruction works wonderfully well for most
candidates, as we emphasize exercise, music, singing, theory and ground lessons,
as well as mounted lessons. We follow NARHA, PATH Int'l., guidelines, and each potential
client is screened extensively to determine whether our program can meet their
needs safely and effectively. Each rider is assessed according to whether
there are medical precautions and contraindications that would affect service,
whether our staff is qualified to meet their needs, if our horses and ponies
are appropriate, and if we have the required facilities and
or equipment to meet their needs. If we cannot meet a particular client’s
needs, we refer them to another program(s). A release of liability form is
required, as is pre-certification from your medical professional(s). Of course,
recent IEPs and therapy goal letters from PTs and OTs are vital, and should
be received at least a week before class.
How Does Therapeutic Riding Work?
The benefits of therapeutic riding are as numerous as the types of disabilities
and conditions the field serves, and lesson fees are reasonable. Medical research
shows that students who participate in therapeutic riding can experience physical,
emotional and mental rewards such as enhanced flexibility, balance and muscle
strength, as well as increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. Families
benefit also, as their member grows in strength and confidence, while meeting
new friends (four-legged as well as two), and enjoying our beautiful countryside.
Almost all of our students typically ride once a week, although those with
more intense therapy needs may require two to three sessions per week. We find that the time invested in grooming and tacking/untacking the horse,
as well as in learning valuable lessons about nutrition, stable management,
equine health and riding theory is at least as valuable -- in terms of fine
and gross motor skills, a general knowledge base, and self-confidence -- as
is the actual mounted lesson. Thus, we typically ask our riders to invest
a half-hour in ground exercises and in preparing the horse for class, 45 minutes
in the mounted lesson and game, and 15 minutes in cooling down/untacking and
grooming the horse or pony before he/she is put away. Each client is given an individually-designed exercise program for at-home use, and a cognitive enrichment plan. Clients, who need work
on balance and sequencing, coordination and or strength, also enjoy the mini-tramp,
a Kangaroo ball, or other apparatus, as well as riding. These aides reinforce
the riding therapy, as well as that of other professionals.
How Does One Register?
Click Here to register. Some individuals may request an initial
evaluation, if they or our staff are unsure as to whether or not therapeutic
riding is indicated. This costs $100.00 and takes about two hours. Click Here to register for the Evaluation. Instruction
is offered in a series of 12 lessons, prepaid in advance. Scholarships
are available, and usually require a week to process. Click Here to read more about scholarships. For those applying late, refunds
are given to successful scholarship applicants, such that fees are reduced
retroactively based on the family’s ability to pay. Please call about scholarships if you think you might qualify, and
wish the forms, at
Please review this letter
and the rest of the website carefully. If you have questions after examining
these materials, please feel free to give us a call. You may now register
for classes, volunteer training, and apprentice staff positions online. Please
note that all application materials and prepayments should be received by ETA at least two weeks before the start of class to ensure proper lesson planning, insurance coverage, and registration. It is also vital
that three hours of parental training be completed prior to their child’s
actual instruction, so that if our scheduled training dates and times do not
work for you, and if you decide to enroll, we can schedule a separate time
for you alone for a nominal fee.
Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.
We offer lessons in the mornings, early and late afternoons, and on Saturday.
We try to reserve the Saturday sessions for parents who simply cannot bring
a child during the week. Each session of 12 lessons is pre-paid
and allows up to two make-ups, scheduled at mutually convenient times during that session. I think
that you would truly enjoy our farm and critters. I look forward to speaking
with you soon!
Carol Rae Hansen, Ph.D.
Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen, 2008 All rights reserved
If God put the rainbows right in the clouds themselves, each one of
us in the direst and dullest and most dreadful and dreary moments can see
a possibility of hope.
Each one of us has the chance to be a rainbow in somebody's cloud
Maya Angelou, Speech, Conference at Weber State University, Utah, 1997
Photo Credit: Alicia Agnew,
2008 All rights reserved
I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
Photo Credit: Carol Rae Hansen,
2008 All rights reserved
There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart . . . pursue those.
Augustana College (SD)
Photo Credit: David Evans,
2008 All rights reserved
A mind may change with each new
day, but the spirit
and the heart are
as unchanging as
Owen D. Young
Battersea Norfolk, Morgan National Therapy Horse of the Year and NARHA Region II Horse of the Year
Photo Credit: (c) Carol Rae Hansen,
all rights reserved 2012
Don't let what
you cannot do interfere with what you can do!