Horse Sense in the Catskills is a program for special needs children.

     Horse Sense in the Catskills is a program for special needs children. We use Equine Therapy to help kids cope and develop.  It is a rehabilitation process and a passive active neuromuscular therapy for kids suffering from pain, and in need of recovery.  We provide a luxurious and environmentally rich and diverse facility.

How Your Autistic Child Can Benefit from Equine Therapy

For thousands of years the bond between man and animal has proven to be effective in creating an emotional, healing bond. Horses are used by physical, speech, and occupational therapists to reach their patients on a personal level through what is referred to as “hippotherapy.” Children with autism also benefit from equine therapy due to the motor, emotional, and sensory sensations that come with riding a horse.

Creating the Emotional Bond
Autistic children have difficulty bonding emotionally to others. As the parent of an autistic child, you know that it is hard for your child to make eye contact, communicate what he is feeling, and express himself to those he cares about. Rather than verbal communication, autistic children experience physical communication with the horses. They brush them, hug them, and pat them. By learning to care for the horse, they associate the care they provide with feelings and an emotional bridge is constructed. This bond can lead to social and communication skill production with other people in his life as well.

Cognitive and Language Skills Development
Autistic children often have difficulty comprehending normal directions. By engaging in equine therapy, your child follows directions through a fun activity that makes taking direction easier to grasp and remember. He will also give the horse direction, which provides him with more opportunities to communicate. Your child is naturally motivated to move; thus, he is excited and motivated to communicate. During his therapy his cognitive concepts will naturally improve. For example, equine therapists have children throw colored balls into baskets while riding, touch their eyes, mouth, and ears during a song, and identify scenes—all incorporated during riding.

Sensory Benefits
Balance and spatial orientation are experienced through the vestibular sense organs. These are located inside the inner ear and are stimulated through direction change, incline, and speed. Riding a horse helps liven these sensory preceptors, which helps make therapy exciting and motivates your child to continue to be engaged.

Research related to Equine Therapy

Kemp, K., Signal, T., Botros, H., Taylor, N., Prentice, K. (2013).  Equine Facilitated Therapy with children and adolescents who have been sexually abused: A program evaluation study.Journal of Child and Family Studies DOI 10.1007/s10826-013-9718-1
Nurenberg, J.R. etal (2014). Animal-Assisted Therapy With Chronic Psychiatric Inpatients: Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Aggressive Behavior. Psychiatric Services in Advance, Oct. 1, 2014.
Nurenberg, J.R., Schleifer, S., Madara, B., Yellin, M., Desai, P., Shaffer, T., & Allen, A. (2011). Equine assisted psychotherapy for patients with severe chronic psychiatric disorders. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Schultz, P., Remick-Barlow, G., & Robbins, L. (2007). Equine-assisted psychotherapy: A mental health promotion/intervention modality for children who have experienced intra-family violence.Health & Social Care in the Community 15(3), 265-271.
Trotter, K., Chandler, C., Goodwin-Bond, D., & Casey, J. (2008).  A comparative study of the efficacy of group equine assisted counseling with at-risk children and adolescents.  Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, Vol. 3(3), 254-284.
Whittlesey-Jerome, W.K. (2014). Adding Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Conventional Treatments: A Pilot Study Exploring Ways to Increase Adult Self-Efficacy among Victims of Interpersonal ViolenceThe Practitioner Scholar: Journal of Counseling and Professional Psychology, Vol. 3, 82-101.
General Equine Assisted Psychotherapy services (other models utilized or not model specific)
Chardonnens, E. (2009). The use of animals as co-therapists on a farm: The child-horse bond in Person-Centered Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 8(4), 319-332.
Frewin, K. & Gardiner, B. (2005).  New age or old sage? A review of equine assisted psychotherapyThe Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology, 6, pp13-17.
Kaiser, L., Spence, L.J., Lavergne, A.G., & Bosch, K.L. (2004). Can a week of therapeutic riding make a difference? A pilot study. Anthrozoos, 17, 63-72.
Karol, J. (2007). Applying a traditional individual psychotherapy model to equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP): Theory and Method. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 12(1), 77-90.
Klontz, B.T., Bivens, A., Leinart, D. & Klontz, T. (2007).  The effectiveness of equine-assisted experiential therapy: Results of an open clinical trial.  Society and Animals, 15 (2007), 257-267.
Pendry, P., Smith, A. N., & Roester, S. M. (2014). Randomized trial examines effects of equine facilitated learning on adolescents’ basal cortisol levelsHuman-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 2 (1), 80-95.


Getting Access to Equine Therapy
Equine therapy is highly beneficial to children with autism. It helps them develop natural, core skills they need to function in society. Unfortunately, equine therapy is one of the most expensive therapies available for autistic children, and parents can find themselves paying over $5,000 annually to enroll their autistic children in these programs.

As a parent of an autistic child, you already know that there are numerous expenses associated with his care. Thus, adding on the expense of equine therapy may seem out-of-reach. Luckily, organizations like ASDF offer funding and scholarships for parents who want to take advantage of equine therapy.

Support by ASDF means that financial issues won’t hold you back from giving your child the therapy he needs, providing him with the gift of emotional bonding, communication, and skills that will help him today and continue to enrich his life in the future.

If you want to learn more about the ways equine therapy can help your child, visit, email, or call 877.806.0635. ASDF is a charity that supports children with autism spectrum disorders by providing education, information, and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations. Funds donated to ASDF are used to address any and all kinds of issues in assisting autistic children and their families.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

Children ages 4 years and up with parent of physical assistant or care giver.  We are Mandated Reporters and will report any crimes or unsafe conditions to appropriate authorities.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Free Parking for family vehicles – non-EBuses must pay $20. environmental fee

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

Service animals encouraged. No firearms and dangerous weapons.  No smoking, alcohol or non prescricption drugs.  No person charged with crimes against children or animals of any type allowed.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Call 845.332.6442


Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes just call us to verify your status.

Any special rates?

Organizational rates available call for pricing.There are special rates and discounted scholarships call for more information.

What is the refund policy?

Sorry no refunds

The name on the registration/ticket doesn’t match the attendee. Is that okay?

Yes no problem.

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