Equine Program

Home of Hope provides equine-assisted activities to contribute positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well-being of individuals with intellectual disabilities. A disability does not have to limit individuals from the health, education, sport, recreation, and leisure benefits of riding horses.

Research shows that horseback riding helps boost strength, balance and other skills for adults with a range of physical and developmental disabilities. Riders have shown to make meaningful gains in various areas including motor function, posture, gait, and quality of life.

Experiencing the motion of a horse can be therapeutic because horseback riding rhythmically moves the riders’ body in a manner similar to a human gait. Riders with
disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength.

The program also includes unmounted activities that teach horsemanship and care of horses such as grooming, nutrition, and caring for tack and other riding gear.

Participants enjoy training for and showing off their skills to the audience at rodeo events.

Our History.  Home of Hope’s Equine Program was started in 2002 with just seven riders. Today we have 80+ participants who participate in equine-assisted events from February to November. All riders can participate regardless of skill or disability.

Growth was spurred in recent years with the completion of a covered arena in 2014 thanks to the generosity of donors and a matching donation by Jim and Marja Willis. In addition to the arena at Wodloe Acres, the program includes a shed, bleachers, and grazing pasture.

Our Manager. Kallie Westbrook is our Equine Program Manager, overseeing the instructional part of the program, horseback riding, and care of the horses. Kallie is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agribusiness with a minor in Animal Science.

While attending OSU, Kallie volunteered at Turning Point Ranch and developed a love for therapeutic riding. Kallie is certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH).

Volunteering. With Home of Hope staff present, volunteers provide valuable assistance leading horses, walking beside some riders, and helping groom, saddle and feed the horses. Weekday riding sessions are held in the late afternoon/early evening making it convenient to volunteer after work. If you need volunteer hours, need something to do with your evenings, miss being around horses, or just want to make a difference in someone’s life, we would be glad to talk to you about volunteering. Contact Program Manager Kallie Westbrook for details.

HorsesAs our program expands, more horses are needed. We are looking for horses under age 16, great with people, and well broke on the ground and under saddle. If you know a horse you think fits this description and want to help make a difference we are interested in speaking to you.

Donations. Equipment, feed, and veterinary care is paid for with contributions to the activities program at Home of Hope. We also gratefully accept new and used donations of men and women’s boots and jeans for riders, as well as saddles, tack, and other supplies.