what we do

Love the children - Make every decision in favor of the child, not the center - Change lives!

We assist each individual with special needs in “reaching their full potential through interaction with horses.”

recent & upcoming programs

spirithorse methods


  • SpiritHorse Therapeutic Center of SW Washington is unique SpiritHorse provides all therapeutic equine-assisted services to the economically disadvantaged “free of charge”, estimating that at least 65% of families would otherwise be unable to afford therapy.  We assist each individual with special needs in “reaching their full potential through interaction with horses.”
  • We are different –                                                            SpiritHorse provides Equine Assisted Healthcare with a different goal than that of recreational therapeutic riding. It includes, for example, a language curriculum written by the University of Texas.  We also provided a “one-on-one” Instructor to student setting for intervening with our clients.
  • Our principal goal is therapy and not recreation –      SpiritHorse uses certified instructors that instruct the therapy sessions.  SpiritHorse teaches with many of the lessons taught in the public school, but to children of special needs, for example, we use sequencing to help the student to focus and stay on a specific task through having leading, grooming and tacking up as part of the lesson. 
  • We run 12-week sessions. Clients come for one-hour sessions each week, with a designated horse and instructor. We have a strong focus on building independence, and clients assist, to the best of their ability, in all areas of preparation and horse-care: leading, grooming, putting on and removing equipment before and after their ride. This develops a sense of self-sufficiency and accomplishment, and also builds sequencing and speech skills.

  • Instructors, during the mounted portion, lead the client through the SpiritHorse 88-step Equine-Assisted Healthcare Program. This program utilizes movements and activities on the horse to develop rhythm and balance, and stimulate brain activity that actually works as an effective intervention for the deficits of disabilities. Free therapy aides in many ways. In a natural environment, SpiritHorse’ equine-assisted therapy is an organic combination of speech, physical and relationship-building therapy. This therapy builds a variety of skills:
  • Balance & coordination
  • Flexibility & core muscle strength
  • Sequencing
  • Speech & communication
  • Self-esteem & self-confidence
  • The therapeutic process helps clients to have the skills, confidence, independence, and ability to thrive in their academic, communication and social development. Therapy promotes physical health and well-being and counteracts the effects of disabilities through research-based methods.

  • Our goals include addressing each rider’s individual needs and achieve the goals his or her parents, contributing therapists and doctors, and SpiritHorse instructors set. As clients move through the 88-step Equine-Assisted Healthcare Program, progress is measured according to the mastery of these steps. Because we serve such a wide range of age and physical and cognitive functioning ability, success is measured by the individual accomplishments and milestones of each.
  • General success is measured by clients’ improvement in different areas affected by disabilities. These include improvement in balance, coordination, muscle strength and flexibility, self-confidence, independence, and progress in environments outside our center – home, school, etc.
  1. At SpritHorse International over the years, 108 children have spoken their first words, 63 have taken their first steps, and 58 have sat up independently for the first time, and 13 have been measured “non-Autistic."

Upcoming Session dates for 2019

  • Spring/Summer Session: May 1 - July 21, 2019
  • Summer/Fall Session:  August 7 - Nov. 3, 2019

We will not be having lessons on Memorial Day Weekend or Labor Day Weekends. All lessons are weather permitting. We will cancel lessons due to rain and hot weather over 85 degrees.

If you are interested in becoming a student or a volunteer, you can click the below buttons and print out a form to fill out and send to us or you can contact us by clicking on "CONTACT US"