Frequently Asked Questions


Who is eligible?

Therapeutic riding lessons are available to residents of Lanark and Renfrew Counties and the Ottawa Valley who are physically and/or developmentally disabled, or at risk for developmental delay.  New applicants will receive a home visit to discuss their needs and goals and to determine their ability to participate in the program.  Riders must be able to sit up on their own and must obtain a doctor's referral endorsing their participation.  It is recommended that the maximum weight of riders be less than 160 lbs (72 kgs). Participation is considered on a case by case basis.

A special program was introduced in 2016 for ill/injured members of the Canadian Armed Forces active or retired.  Soldier Ride,  is not a therapy session - it is a relatively intense one-on-one recreational horseback riding lesson;  but, we are a therapeutic program so we teach lessons in a safe, non-judgmental & private area.   


Is there an age restriction?

Riders are aged 3 to over 60.  The volunteers range in age from 16 to over 70 years of age.


How are lessons taught?

Depending upon the age and ability of the rider, lessons are taught either on a one-on-one basis or in a group lesson.  Lessons are designed specifically for each person and vary in length dependant on rider's abilities. There is an opportunity to learn how to care for and groom horses, as well as learn basic riding skills. For persons with physical disabilities, the emphasis is on exercises and movement that will increase balance, coordination and muscle control while decreasing spasticity. Riders with developmental delays are involved in skill development that will help their memory, sequencing, attention span and concentration. A fun atmosphere with games and races helps to encourage participation, socialization and communication.


Who teaches the lessons?

Lessons are taught by certified instructors. Our instructors are constantly attending clinics and workshops extending their knowledge base in every aspect of our program.


What do the volunteers do?

An energetic team of more than 100 volunteers assists with lessons and fundraising. Prior to and after the lessons they help with grooming and tacking of the horses and set-up and tear-down of the lesson area. During the lessons volunteers lead the horses and, depending upon the disability of the rider, one or two walk beside to ensure the rider is secure in the saddle.  Training clinics are provided, and no experience is necessary.


Where are the lessons taught?

Lessons are offered at Fox Hollow Farm in Lanark County: 4655 Appleton Side Road, Almonte. Go to the Contact page for directions. Fox Hollow is a privately owned horse boarding facility and as such we are only there during our designated lesson times.  With respect to other boarders, Fox Hollow staff and farm owners, please do not visit the farm, at any time, without prior arrangements being made with the appropriate staff of the Lanark County Therapeutic Riding Program. Drop in visits are not permitted.


When are the lessons offered?

We offer lessons seasonally, Spring, Summer (2 summer sessions) and Fall. The sessions run between the months of May to October, Monday to Friday. 


How much does it cost?

The cost per lesson session is $400 (each summer session is $200). Payment is due two weeks prior to the beginning of each session in order to ensure a place for the rider.  The lesson fees are eligible for payment from the Family Relief Program.  Please contact your caseworker for further information.


How is the Riding Program funded?

The Therapeutic Riding Program does not receive on-going government support. Funds to run the program are raised through lesson fees, support from the community, grants and various fundraising events.  Donations of $20 and over will receive a charitable tax receipt. 


What about referrals?

Referrals and service inquiries are welcome from any individual or group. For more information, or to make a referral, call: 613-257-7121 ext. 3238.