I also found a place called SpiritHorse when I was looking online. I have already contacted them by email for more information, and I am planning on calling if I do not hear back within a few days, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience with them?
I liked the fact that they provide the services free of charge, but I personally am not made of money and am not sure how that could happen! I know that it will take a lot of grant money, but what are the chances of getting grants in this economy? Has anyone on this board tried?
Last edited by LovinLatte81; Nov. 17, 2009 at 08:43 PM.
Feeling very cynical this morning, so I'll apologize in advance. Money is probably the number 1 reason why therapeutic programs don't succeed. Before you get all excited about the idea, get some help with a business plan and some cold, hard facts about running a nonprofit in your area. United Way could probably help you a lot. I've lost count of how many programs have come and gone in the 20+ years I've been involved with therapeutic riding and the majority have failed because they were led by people with really good intentions and not enough fund raising ability. Sorry if that sounds negative. With your background, why not get involved with an existing program?
I've been developing a business plan and researching for nearly 3 years now...learning what to do, and what NOT to do! lol!
One of the best ways to gather what you need is to actively volunteer at both a larger long established NARHA facility and a smaller, perhaps even private facility. Look into all the various aspects from TR to Hippotherapy, Driving and beyond. Learn the differences between the various disciplines and the legal and ethical aspects of each.
What is your philosophy? And what do you hope to specialize in? Do you have several volunteers who you can rely on consistently? Do you have a good "pool" to call on?
What your goals for the first year? The first three years? The first 5 years? How about the first decade?
Do you have enough cash flow to support several horses that are needed to meet various special needs?
Do you know how to evaluate horses for suitability in a program? Do you have the tools you need to train them such as access to wheelchairs, walkers, and all sorts of adaptive equipment like "talkers" and tanks and braces and wow...it just goes on and on!
Do you have the ability financially to support the program for at least 3-5 years?
What is your location like? Is it set up to accommodate people with special needs? Do you have ramps? Do you have obstacles that might hinder riders? Do you have parking for vehicles with ramps etc?
Is your riding area suitable? How is dust and molds and mud and weather handled?
These are just a few of the things that pop into my head. There are a million more! You mention NY, please feel free to get in touch with me, the more the merrier!
I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques
Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.
Charles from SpiritHorse is great and he has done a lot with the therapeutic driving community, but the education you get through SpiritHorse will not replace the resources and education from NARHA. If you were looking to start another type of business you would likely not look for the cheapest education you could find. In addition, I have some personal conflict with the current terminology that SpiritHorse is using. I feel that using "Equine Assisted Healthcare" is extremely problematic on several levels- first the people who are being "certified" are not legal health care providers- what implication does this have at a local and state level, what does this term and the use of "healthcare" imply to parents and caregivers of children with special needs and finally the industry to struggling with terminology the last thing we need is another term. There is a real implication that SpiritHorse is providing therapy, but they are not promoting licensed health care providers (therapists) in their program.