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4STEPS Therapeutic Riding Program

5367 Sixty Foot Road Parsonsburg MD 21849  410-835-8814  giddyup4steps@aol.com


Therapeutic Riding for Children and Adults with Disabilities 
Working with horses is an excellent form of exercise therapy that is fun, safe, challenging and socially rewarding. The goals of therapeutic and recreational riding revolve around learning horsemanship, improving basic riding skills and many times learning a specific riding discipline such as trail riding, cowboy dressage, and drill team activities. In therapeutic riding, special attention is paid to facilitating improvements in muscle strength, coordination, balance, stamina, self confidence and social interaction. Lesson plans may be tailored individually to address clients’ special needs. Our therapeutic riding instructors are specially trained and certified to instruct clients with a wide variety of physical and mental disabilities as well as clients who are not disabled. Lessons are conducted in our covered riding arena, outdoor arena and on the trail and are conducted according to each rider’s interests, needs, abilities and rate of progress.

Equine Partnership Programs

Lessons are conducted for individuals, couples, families or groups. Goals are established by participants and provide the opportunity to improve communication skills, family reintegration, relationship building, coping skills, trauma resolution and other goals relating to healing, personal growth and development. Specially designed unmounted activities with horses precipitate experiential learning and self exploration. Participants absorb the peace and natural beauty of the farm and its natural Eastern Shore setting. Many individuals and groups bring brown bag lunches, and play corn hole or horseshoes while they’re here – others simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the peaceful forested setting.

Our veterans programs are for post 9/11 Veterans and active military especially those who have sustained PTS, physical injuries, or have experienced combat trauma during their time serving our country. Equine assisted activities can be an amazing tool for injured military. From day one Veterans are hands on with the horses beginning with groundwork and progressing to riding, as well as participating in other aspects of trail riding and packing.

Sharing our experience, our strengths, and hopes we give veterans a new and vital mission where they can recuperate, recreate, and reintegrate into their communities. We believe that horsemanship is leadership and by assisting veterans through the way of the horse we are able to support their journey, integrating mind, body and spirit.

We are staffed entirely by volunteers and are privately funded by your donations. 100% of your contributions go to keeping our heroes on horseback. 

4STEPS provides Veterans with their choice of the following opportunities:
Trail Riding
Horse Handling & Care
Natural Horsemanship & Join Up
Basic Riding Lessons for New Riders
Advanced Riding Lessons For Experienced Riders
Adaptive Riding for Physical Impairments
Volunteering with our Teaming for Success* program to serve other riders

Equine Therapy for Veterans includes the following benefits:
Rehabilitation – improve core strength, cognition, balance, coordination, circulation,  emotional stability and overall fitness
Reintegration into the civilian sector
A challenging physical activity
Camaraderie with other veterans
Opportunity to be of service again

PTS – Interactions with horses helps even when medication and talk therapy fail to ease PTSD. Think of a horse as a living biofeedback machine, reflecting the rider's mood and feelings.

Come to the farm feeling reclusive, withdrawn, emotionless — combative. The first session is mind-clearing. The black cloud might just disappear. A special bond forms between an injured soul and a horse, a bond to change your life. Are you mad at the world? As the bond forms, it seems to soften the soul.
Grooming a horse, tacking him up and going for a ride, cooling him down, feeding, watering, and cleaning stalls — all the things that go into properly caring for a horse. All of these interactions help participants gain confidence and learn about themselves.

People who have PTS live in a state of hyper-vigilance and can feel threatened by everyday events, and horses exist in a similar state. By interacting with horses, people with PTSD will often see their own emotional state mirrored in the reactions of the horse with which they are working.
Horses also force people to come out of their comfort zones by working with a large, unfamiliar animal. The confidence that they can gain from interacting with horses can flow over into other aspects of their lives.

Wounded Veterans - Therapeutic riding benefits patients with cognitive, physical, emotional, social or a combination of these challenges. Persons with disabilities are often restricted in their movements and interaction. With horseback riding or equestrian therapy, they are given the opportunity for independence and mobility. Riding a horse for therapy offers physical and mental benefits to the handicap individual who are usually refused of outdoor experiences.

Recreation for Veterans and their family - This is the program for families that have ever wanted to ride a horse or experience the special bond and friendship of horses. Horses have proven their abilities to help heal the wounds of war and separation.  In addition, the organization will use its own national network of equestrian facilities. 

This program will give the wonderful world of horses to men, women and their children who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. With thousands of troops returning home, programs like HORSEPOWER are important to PTS sufferers, Wounded Warriors, caregivers and their families.

The goal of Teaming for Success is to provide positive change for young people who struggle with the moderate to severe emotional and behavioral disturbances which can ultimately lead them into areas which threaten their future and development. Teaming up with US military veterans for this purpose is a win-win situation in that nobody deserves more respect than those who have served. At-risk children need positive role models in their life. Veterans who serve in the teaming for success program benefit as well in that this activity also provides a therapeutic environment for the veterans as well.

HORSEPLAY Adaptive Summer Camp
HORSEPLAY offers a safe and integrated horse experience for children with disabilities and their families. HORSEPLAY camp is 3 days long for 3 hours a day and varies in topic and focus. The immersion in nature with horses allows the family to be together in an extended tribe of other families and caregivers.

A regular day at HORSEPLAY camp is pretty variable and of course is tailored to the individual child and families. Each day HORSEPLAY camp begins with a low key horse activity, then break for other kinds of play, small animals, art, music, gardening, low challenge activities, and other fun, adaptive, and educational crafts and activities.  Expect to get wet on days when we can use the sprinkler to cool off!