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Hippotherapy vs. Therapeutic Riding

What is hippotherapy? Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. A certified therapist uses the horse's movement to provide carefully graded sensory input to improve neurological function and sensory processing. Hippotherapy has been shown to improve muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development as well as emotional well-being (American Hippotherapy Association Inc., 2007) .

What is therapeutic riding? Therapeutic riding is appropriate for less involved (physically, mentally) clients who want social aspect of a sport along with strengthening, or as an adjunct to therapy for someone already receiving physical therapy, occupational therapy or sensory therapy. It is recommended that students are able to sit independently. Many of the inherent benefits to horseback riding (trunk strength, stretch to legs, modulation of sensory input) still apply. Equipment used typically encourages independent balance and riding positions/disciplines.

Blazing Prairie Stars, Inc.
47W635 Beith Road
Maple Park, IL 60151
(630) 365-5550
Kane County
Provides hippotherapy as a strategy for occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy to meet client centered goals.

Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center
Sarah Newland, program director
7319 Maxon Road
Harvard, IL 60033
(815) 943-8226
McHenry County
PATH International-premier accredited center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International). Program teaches horseback riding skills to children and adults with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. BraveHearts also offers therapeutic carriage driving lessons, as well as a wide variety of recreational therapy activities. Through their certified instructors and dedicated volunteers, BraveHearts provides a positive, structured learning experience in a safe and nurturing environment.

BraveHearts at the Bergmann Centre
Sarah Newland, program director
4950 Route 173
Poplar Grove, IL 61065
(815) 765-2113
Boone County
PATH International-premier accredited center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International). Provides therapeutic horseback riding and an outpatient clinic specializing in hippotherapy to children and adults with a variety of diagnoses. Class times are subject to change based on enrollment.
Cost: please call for information and details. Scholarship letter available upon request.

Bull Run Equestrian Center
Contact: Loren Gineris, PT
P.O. Box 870
3N065 Anderson Road
Elburn, IL 60119
(630) 365-1376 or (630) 715-0354
Kane County
Strides In Motion at the award winning BullRun Equestrian Center is an outpatient physical therapy practice that incorporates both clinic based treatments and hippotherapy to achieve a clients functional goals in the natural setting. Side-walkers, horse leaders and arena assistants work hand and hand with our precious clients and the physical therapist to achieve their physical therapy goals.

Central Illinois Riding Therapy
Judith Kruse
305 Neumann Drive
East Peoria, IL 61611
(309) 699-3710
Tazewell County
NARHA-premier accredited center (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association). Provides therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
Ages: 3 and up.
Cost: $60-$80 per month (three to four sessions per month), plus $25 registration fee. Includes t-shirt.
No wait list.

Equestrian Connection
Diana Schnell, executive director
600 N. Bradley Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 615-8696
Lake County
Offers a variety of equine programs to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of those with disabilities and illness. They have a state of the art 16,000 square foot heated arena, riding trails, outdoor arena and therapy rooms to address the needs of their clients. They offer hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, job and living skill programs, after school club, summer and spring camps, pony pals, MS programs and more. They also have a full-time art therapist for those who wish to improve communication skills through art, as well as massage for clients and caregivers.
Business hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Ages: 2 and up.
Cost: varies on service.
Private and public insurance accepted.
Wait list ofr some programs and time slots.

9501 N. Austin Ave.
Morton Grove, IL 60053
(847) 965-1632
Cook County
Provides therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
Hours: Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Mondays from 1:30 to 6 p.m.
Ages: 6 and up.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: $45 (30-minutes).

Equine Dreams
Sharon Mason
Mailing address: P.O. Box 372
Sandwich, IL 60548
(815) 690-8144
DeKalb County
Provides hippotherapy therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with special needs.
Ages: 4 and up.
Cost: free. Sessions are 30 minutes to three hours long, depending on individual needs. 
Six- to nine-month wait list. Contact through email for immediate response.

Freedom Woods
9501 Austin Ave.
Morton Grove, IL 60053
(847) 967-9800
Cook County
Provides therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. An evaluation will be performed by a licensed therapist to determine appropriate placement in either therapeutic riding or hippotherapy. 
Ask about the next Horsemanship Program.
Ages: 4 and up.
Only hippotherapy can be submitted to insurance for possible reimbursement.
Cost: $80 per 30-minute session (hippotherapy).
Cost: $40 per 30-minute session (therapeutic riding).
Current wait list.

Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities
28 W. 051 Liberty St.
Winfield, IL 60190
(630) 588-8543
DuPage County
Provides individualized therapuetic activities for people with disabilities. Participants come to FTEA either as individuals or in groups from schools, rehabilitation centers and other health care agencies.
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Wednesdays from 2 to 6:45 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ages: 3 and up.
Cost: $42 per session (10 to 15 weeks).
No wait list.

Heather Ridge Farm
Cheryl Case
31309 E. 2500 N. Road
Cabrey, IL 60919
(630) 853-9813
Saginaw County
Provides individualized therapuetic riding for people with disabilities. Get more information about services and fees.
Ages: 3 and up.
Cost: $35 (30 minutes).
No wait list.

Horse Feathers Therapeutic Riding NFP
Nicholas Coyne, Kristi Horwitz
1181 Riverwoods Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2411
Lake County
Horse Feathers is an equine facility dedicated to using horses and ponies to improve the quality of life for children and adults. Horsefeathers provides horseback riding instruction to individuals with physical, or emotional disabilities with an occupational therapist or speech language pathologist. Therapeutic Riding with certified NARHA instructors. They also host field trips for schools and organizations. 
Ages: 18 months and up.
Cost: $50 (30 minutes).
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday by appointment.
No wait list.

Manhattan Meadows
Lisa Rizzo, Owner
Route 52 and Huff Road
Manhattan, IL 60442
(815) 919-4149
Will County
Provides private therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Viewing area for parents.
Hours: Monday though Sunday, by appointment only. 
Ages: 3 and up.
Cost: $25 (per session) or $100 (5 sessions).
No wait list.

Midwest Center for Children's Development NFP
Doug Young
4701 N. Oak St.
Crystal Lake, IL 60012
(815) 788-1020
McHenry County
Member of the American Hippotherapy Association. Provides physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. Their approach uses an equine assisted model, using a horse as one tool in the treatment. Typically sessions are an hour long, including both time on the horse and time using other therapy tools that are based on the child's specific therapeutic goals.
Ages: 4 months and up.
Private and public insurance accepted for PT, OT and therapeutic goals.
Cost for PT, OT and ST services: $175.
Cost for initial evaluation: $350.
Therapeutic riding, sensory sessions, adaptive riding and riding lessons: $35 (30-minute session).
Openings available. After school and Saturday hours are busiest.

New Kingdom Trailriders
Barbara Clauson
4343 16th St., Suite 305
Moline, IL 61265
(309) 787-0627
Rock Island County
NARHA-premier accredited center (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association). Provides therapeutic horse riding and motion therapy. Horseback riding helps mentally and physically challenged people, achieve a quality of life that is improved, enhanced, and enriched.
Ages: 3 and up.
Insurance not accepted. Parents can submit coding to insurance companies for possible reimbursement.
Cost: $150 (6 weeks).
Short wait list.

Paradise Equestrian Therapy Center
Penny Allen
18146 750 N. East County Road
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 232-0022
Cole County
Provides therapeutic horse riding. Each individual has a specialized riding session created for them by a therapeutic riding instructor or a health professional.
Ages: 4 and up.
Cost: $35 (hourly rate); $20 (30-minutes).
No wait list.

Partners for Progress NFP
Intake: Amanda Braden
Location: Fields and Fences Equestrian Center
36550 N. Hunt Club Road
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 226-1300
Lake County
Provides therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. Learn more about programs offered. An assessment will be done the first day of the session unless otherwise scheduled. Learn more about fees and assessments. 
Ages: 11 months and up.
Some insurance accepted for hippotherapy only.
Cost: $45-$175. Scholarships are limited.
Wait list for after-school hours.

Pegasus Special Riders, Inc.
Donna Fellows
P.O. Box 293
Oregon, IL 61061-0293
(815) 732-3189
Ogle County
email: or
Provides equine assisted therapy to physically, mentally and/or emotionally challenged individuals. Each client's weekly lesson includes both riding and care of the horse, so a relationship can develop between the person and the animal. All activities are closely supervised by trained instructors and volunteers. Physical therapists and other medical experts assist with the program as needed.
Ages: 18 months and up.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: $35 (one-time fee); $90 (six weeks) or $15 (per session).
Wait list depends on staff availability.

Rainbow Riders
Drew Angotti
822 200th Ave.
Monmouth, IL 61462
(309) 734-4849
Warren County
Rainbow Riders is a not-for-profit, therapeutic horseback riding program for children with special needs. They provide safe, professional and affordable therapeutic horseback riding opportunities, that contribute positively to the physical, cognitive, emotional and social well being of children with special needs.
Ages: 3 and up.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: $20 per session (30 minutes). Sliding scale fee available.
No wait list.

Ray Graham Association
Hanson Center Horsemanship Program
Cathy LeBeau, Program Coordinator
15 W. 431 59th St. (59th and Garfield)
Burr Ridge, IL 60521
(630) 325-5330
DuPage County
NARHA-premier accredited center (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association). The Horsemanship Program provides therapeutic riding lessons. See the latest Hanson Center Horsemanship Program newsletter. Also provides Morris Service Dog Program. The program is recognized for training service dogs for individuals with a wide range of disabilities, including physical, intellectual, sensory, mental health and health. For more information on the Morris Service Dog Program please contact Jack Giambrone (630)325-5330. Download brochure.
Ages: 3 and up.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $192 (semi-private lessons for 6 weeks).
$282 (private lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings).
Night spots available. Day slots: One- to two-year wait list.

Rocky Lane Farms
Joanie Keyes
2044 Walnut Grove
Decatur, IL 62526
(217) 428-9255
Macon County
Program just begun. Competitive riding for Special Olympics (three competitions). Learn more.
Ages: 8 and up.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: $10 (One-hour sessions every other week).

Sojourn Therapeutic Riding Center
Barbara Mulry
Barn located in Peotone, IL
Will County
Mailing address: 9139 S. Springfield
Evergreen Park, IL 60805
(708) 539-3078
Lessons by appointment only. Provides equine assisted therapy to physically, mentally and/or emotionally challenged individuals.
Ages: 18 months and up.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $50 (one time assessment fee). Private lessons: six sessions for $300; Group lessons: six sessions for $180 (40-minute sessions; 30-minute saddle time).

Cheryl Smith
3180 S. Mount Zion Road
Decatur, IL 62521
(217) 864-2463
Macon County
Therapeutic horseback riding for children with special needs. S.T.A.R.R. provides group therapy riding sessions in June and July. They also host field trips for schools and organizations and birthday parties. S.T.A.R.R. operates April through October. 
Ages: 3-14.
Private insurance accepted.
Cost: $75 (six weeks). 45-minute session.
No wait list.

Walk On
Mary Illing
P.O. Box 376
Barrington, IL 60011-0376
(847) 381-4231
Lake County
Barn Address: 26665 W Cuba
Barrington, IL 60010
Lake County
Walk On provides equine assisted activities to people with physical, cognitive, social and emotional disabilities by a trained therapeutic horseback riding instructor. Participants are initially evaluated by an occupational therapist and strenghts, areas of concern and adaptations needed are determined in conjunction with parents. Walk On offers a heated indoor arena, an outdoor arena and a sensory trail. Lessons are held Monday through Saturday morning afternoons and evenings.
Ages: 3 and up.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $150 (initial evaluation).
$50 (30-minute, private lesson).
$25 (30-minute, semi-private lesson, two riders).
$50 (one hour, semi-private lesson, two riders).
$35 (one hour, small group lesson, four riders).
Wait list with some daytime spots available immediately.

White Oaks Therapeutic Equestrian Center
Karla Belzer
701 E. Third St.
Prophetstown, IL 61277
(815) 537-5168
Whiteside County
Offers therapeutic horseback riding and animal-assisted activities as well as other related services for children and adults with disabilities.
Classes begin in May and run through October. Both day and evening hours are available.
Ages: 4 and up.
Insurance not accepted.
Cost: $120 (six weeks) - Pet Therapy
Cost: $180 (six weeks) - Therapeutic Riding
Scholarships available.
No wait list.


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