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Therapeutic Horseback Riding


Welcome to Stanwood Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Stanwood Therapeutic Riding (STR), a non profit corporation with 501(c)3 status, was formed and incorporated in January 2009 by founder Kathy Bateman, a NARHA certified riding instructor with 15 year’s experience helping those with special needs. STR’s mission is to provide equine interactions to children and adults with special needs in order to optimize their physical abilities and improve other aspects of their lives. STR opened in March of 2009, to serve the areas of Snohomish and Skagit counties, and Camano Island.

Therapeutic riding has been going on for centuries, and more formally for the last 40 years here in the United States and around the world. Between 460 and 377 B.C., Hippocrates wrote about the benefits of horseback riding as natural exercise. NARHA, which sets the standards followed by most therapeutic riding centers including STR, has been in existence since 1969.

The benefits of therapeutic riding are multi-faceted. They include physical improvements in coordination, balance, muscle strength and relaxation, mobility, and flexibility. Non-physical benefits include increased socialization, improved self-esteem, mastery of new skills and the resultant satisfaction, clarity of thought, and the opportunity of friendship and communication with a four legged partner.

STR welcomes students from areas outside of our stated focus community. STR has partnered with DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services) and DDD (Department of Developmental Disabilities) to provide services for those with less discretionary income. As long as participants are cleared by their physician and guardian/caregiver and are safe to join our program, we welcome all races, ethnicities, genders, and ages.

We have a core group of dedicated volunteers ranging in age from high school students to senior citizens. This group is supplemented by intermittent volunteers to fill in or for special events.

Our Mission

Stanwood Therapeutic Riding exists to provide persons with all types of special needs the opportunity to interact with horses safely in both mounted and unmounted lessons in order to optimize their individual abilities and enhance their quality of life.

Our Goals

  • To link proven therapeutic riding techniques, qualified and quality instructors, equine partners, appropriate equipment, and dedicated volunteers into a cohesive organization to serve the region’s citizens with special needs for today and tomorrow.
  • To operate within and be accountable to a realistic budget comprised of revenue from lesson fees and supplemented by outside monies acquired through fundraising events, solicitations, and contributions from various sources.
  • To establish and maintain an emergency fund representing six months of operating expenses in a secure and liquid form. This fund would exclude capital expenditures.
  • To diversify program offerings, thereby enabling a broader base of income to allow for the support of less revenue generating segments by those with higher revenue.
  • To steadily grow the organization to expand services and clientele while preserving the safety, quality, and individual benefits of existing programs.
  • To educate the public regarding the multifaceted benefits of therapeutic riding to those with special needs and the rich rewards for staff, volunteers, and supporters of our program. We strive to involve members of the community as volunteers, participants, and staff whenever possible.
  • To always remember that our most valuable partners are our horses, and to ensure their lives are comfortable and their well-being is never compromised in pursuit of other goals.

For more information about the benefits of therapeutic riding

visit the Path International website.

Come visit us and see what a difference a horse can make!