Our programs run year-round at Schleicher Farm at 138 Horse Farm Road, Sharon, Vermont 05065 We offer five distinct programs.
Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Therapeutic horseback riding is the use of horses, mounted or unmounted, and equine-assisted activities in order to achieve goals that enhance physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral, and educational skills for people who have disabilities. Lessons may be private and run for a half-hour, or they may be a small group of up to four riders and run for an hour. Therapeutic riding is our largest program. 2022 Therapeutic Riding!
Hippotherapy is defined by the American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. as a physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hippotherapy addresses impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities in patients with neuromotor and sensory dysfunction. This modality is used as part of an integrated treatment program to achieve functional goals and is prescribed by a physician. 2022 Hippotherapy Rider Packet!
High Horses is proud to partner with MoonRise Therapeutics (MRT)* in offering the Connections Program. This program is a mental health counseling program, not a riding program. MRT incorporates horse interactions into the counseling process. Connections participants work with a licensed mental health clinician from MRT, an equine specialist, and a gentle, curious horse in a beautiful barn setting. Sessions are typically 55-minutes and are scheduled weekly. VT-Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont insurances are accepted and scholarships may be available.
Each participant will have their own unique treatment plan based on their therapy goals. An initial conversation with a member of the MoonRise clinical staff is required prior to the start of any clinical work. This allows the client and clinician the opportunity to discuss the issues and concerns you are looking to address, any questions you may have, and it helps both of us determine if this program is an appropriate fit for you.
Prior horse experience is not a requirement for including horses into the counseling work, although having an appreciation for animals can be helpful. Many clients start this work never having interacted with a horse. Most of the clinical work will be done on the ground, however occasional mounted work may be included if the clinician deems it clinically appropriate. Including a horse as part of mental health counseling can bring many benefits including:
● Calming the nervous system, easing social interactions, and learning
● Facilitating the process of self-discovery
● Practicing more adaptive ways of engaging in healthy relationships
● Motivating children and adults to have a deeper involvement in their healing journey
● Increasing joy and other positive felt states
Research shows that experiential therapy methods are more effective for treating trauma and other body-based conditions rather than standard talk therapy. Many people have found the gentle, non-judgemental curiosity of the horse, along with a more relaxing environment, enhances the therapeutic experience. The barn setting provides the counselor with many creative tools for working together while helping the client achieve their therapy goals.
* What is MoonRise Therapeutics?
MoonRise Therapeutics (MRT) is a farm-based nonprofit dedicated to healing emotional and psychological trauma and promoting mental health in the Upper Valley.
Mission: To nurture the well-being of individuals and families through therapeutic and educational experiences that integrate clinical expertise, equine connections, and other innovative approaches.
Vision: To bring together highly skilled clinical and equine professionals, a herd of well-loved horses, and community members to foster well-being, inspire healthy relationships, and be a training ground for equine-based mental-health practices.
Please visit our website to learn more about us! https://moonrisetherapeutics.org/
Operation Unbridled Freedom
Equine Services for Heroes offers equine-assisted programs for veterans for help in dealing with the physical and psychological effects of war and the after-effects of their service time. Working with horses can help people with many types of abilities meet and overcome physical, mental, and psychological barriers including PTSD. Both our TR program and Operation Unbridled Freedom can be geared toward veterans. The VT VA has grants to pay for the 1st 10 visits along with grant money for continuing participants. 2022 Unbridled Freedom Packet!
Grey Horse Program
The Grey Horse Program is tailored to riders 50 years and over wanting to enjoy horseback riding to increase balance, flexibility, and as a form of exercise. Riding quickens reflexes and memory. Horseback riding utilizes the horse’s variable, repetitive and rhythmic movement to provide a base of support for those senior citizens experiencing balance problems, impaired coordination, a decrease of mobility, and poor postural control. As the horse changes gaits, riding trains clients on the subtle muscle control necessary to maintain a stable position in the saddle. It also teaches clients timing, coordination, and respiratory control.
SAGE Horse Program
SAGE (Sentient, Animals, Giving, Equilibrium)
Our four-legged friends can help to improve social skills and impulse control, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, lower blood pressure, and improve fine motor skills. Equine therapy has many additional applications, including decreasing isolation and promoting confidence, self-esteem, communication, trust, and spiritual connection. being with horses can prove very beneficial in terms of treating cancer and other chronic illnesses, as it releases endorphins and serotonin, which are known to reduce stress and depression.
The program will encompass experiential learning in the following areas: haltering the horse/pony, using grooming equipment correctly, leading a horse/pony, and most importantly, understanding horses and how they communicate their thoughts and emotions through body language. Other modalities like Yoga, music, aromatherapy, journaling, etc… may also be incorporated.
Not only does equine therapy assist chronic illness, but it also benefits cancer survivors by increasing strength and fitness levels. We utilize the power of the horse for regaining strength and a sense of peace. Working on dexterity by using grooming tools to brush the horse with “up and down” and “side to side” movements helps the clients improve their strength after surgery.
This program is offered to those dealing with chronic illness and their caregivers/significant others. Class size is limited to 6 participants. Please contact us to register to be included.
- This class is $200. For the full 7 weeks or $30. Per class
- There are scholarships available, please be in contact for information
- Rider Application must be filled out completely to participate. Registration From
We require an application packet for all riders and riders must meet with an instructor or therapist before being scheduled to ride.
Handbook for Parents and Caregivers
Our Parent/Caregiver Handbook further describes what we do at High Horses. This handbook details the different programs offered, orients riders and their families to safety precautions, explains equipment used, and educates people on the many ways therapeutic riding can impact a participants’ daily life and happiness. The staff at High Horses greatly encourages families and care providers to ask questions and become involved in their rider’s experience.
Depending on the individual needs, a participant may be scheduled for private or group lessons may ride with either a therapist or a certified instructor or may be offered a spot in our un-mounted program. High Horses staff and medical consultants are happy to discuss these options with you.
Program fees are paid-in-full by the rider, their family, or by a combination of payment by social service agencies, school districts, or other third parties. Scholarships are available through High Horses. Our maximum scholarship award is 50% of the rider fee and is based upon financial need and may vary depending on the demand for our scholarship fund.
High Horses is busy working on offering you virtual lessons so you can learn about horses and riding from the comfort of your home or classroom.
Lesson 1: Yoga for Equestrians
Yoga for Equestrians by Mary Gerikaris and Shari Gliedman-Baker
Horses are masters at reading body language. Being attuned to our own bodies greatly improves our ability to communicate and partner with the horse, whether we are on the ground or in the saddle.