Please browse our list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) for brief answers to many common questions.
The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program serves those with:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Hearing Impairments
- Vision Impairments
- Down Syndrome
- Developmental Delays
As well as :
- Youth community organizations such as Alternative House
- Military service personnel that may be living with challenges such as post-traumatic stress disorder, amputations, or traumatic brain injuries.
- Individuals without disabilities
NVTRP offers community lessons and summer camps for riders without disabilities through Fairfax County Parktakes.
Children must be 4 years or older for therapeutic riding, 2 years or older for hippotherapy, and 6 years or older for our Community Lessons (for individuals without disabilities). There is no upper age limit. Potential riders are assessed during an interview ride to ensure riding is a beneficial activity for them.
While riding a horse, students are given the opportunity to feel freedom and power through movement. As the horse walks, the movement is transferred to the rider, providing a combination of sensory, motor, and neurological stimulation. This translates to stronger muscles, better balance and coordination, and improved gait. Just as important as the physical benefits, greater self-confidence and self-esteem can be achieved through the freedom of movement.
NVTRP is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), which inspects each program location and sets stringent safety and educational standards. All of NVTRP’s instructors are PATH Intl. certified.
Most students ride once a week, in groups of two to four for 45 minutes. Each 45 minute lesson includes mounting and dismounting and the riding session. Hippotherapy sessions are one on one with the therapist and last 45 minutes. Riding weeks long and are conducted throughout the year, beginning in February and ending in December.
Students are required to wear long pants -riding pants are preferred (shorts, and slippery pants are not recommended) – boots or shoes with a heel, and their own ASTM-SEI approved safety helmet.
Every effort will be made to hold scheduled lessons. In the event of inclement weather, lessons will continue as planned and students will be instructed in the barn. Each session has horsemanship lessons built into the schedule, which are usually saved for rainy days. Students learn to groom the horses, learn about the tack (bridles and saddles), help with feeding the horses, etc. If NVTRP must cancel a lesson the staff will contact families by email and/or phone. Lessons will only be canceled in extreme weather cases when NVTRP deems that it is not safe to hold a lesson on the farm.
If you are unable to attend a scheduled lesson, please make every effort to notify NVTRP 24 hours in advance by calling us at 703-764-0269. Sufficient notice is needed so that we can communicate with staff and volunteers. Based on our flat rate fee, client cancellations are not refundable. We do not offer make-up lessons.
My child does not have a disability. Do I need to fill out all of the rider forms for them to be able to sign up and ride?
Yes. All riders need to have a complete set of paperwork to be able to ride. Contact us if you are not sure which packet is required for your rider.