Therapeutic Riding & Horsemanship
Therapeutic riding and horsemanship lessons are available for children and adults with one or more of the following characteristics: autism spectrum disorder; emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues; experience with violence, abuse or trauma; or are at-risk. When participants can steer or lead a horse independently, lessons may include exploring our outdoor, wooded, interactive Discovery Trail.
Stable Moments is a mentoring program for 6- to 16-year-olds who are or have been in foster care. Each child is matched with a trained volunteer and a horse who meet together once a week for the entire school year. The presence of a consistent, committed adult combined with specially designed activities helps the participants develop strong, reciprocal relationships.
City to Saddle
City To Saddle gives 6 to 13 year olds from underserved communities a chance to interact with horses and other farm animals in a relaxing rural setting. Each day, participants groom the horses, learn about horse care, do barn chores, enjoy a horse-related creative activity and take a riding or horsemanship lesson. This week-long, half-day summer program is funded by generous private donations so the only charge to families is a $15 enrollment fee.
Wildstar Wranglers helps 18 to 25 year-olds with Autism Spectrum Disorder prepare for future employment and engage in meaningful work in a safe, supportive, supervised environment. This vocational program teaches basic job skills required in any work setting, such as showing up on time, following directions, checking your work, accepting and giving feedback, identifying and initiating additional work that needs to be done, and communicating effectively with co-workers and supervisors.
Occupational Therapy with Horses
Our occupational therapy sessions incorporate equine movement into an individual’s treatment plan. This strategy, called hippotherapy, is tailored to the needs of each patient and includes work in the clinic, the barn, the spacious indoor arena and on the interactive outdoor Discovery Trail.
We offer visits by our registered therapy pony Hugo to schools, recreational/enrichment programs and social service organizations within a 30-minute radius of Sherborn, MA. There is no charge for these visits but a donation is always welcome. Hugo and Polly are registered as a therapy team with the national Pet Partners organization.
Field Trips and Farm Tours
Schools and other organizations can schedule group visits to Horse SenseAbility at Wildstar Farm. The included activities and charge for this unique experience depends on the number and ages of the participants as well as the length of the visit.
Horse Tales is a one-week reading and riding program designed for 4th and 5th graders. Children learn about, care for and ride horses while practicing their literacy skills.
Benefits of Equine-Assisted Services
Horses are dynamic, sensitive animals that communicate through the subtle use of body language. They respond to situations by giving immediate, honest feedback without judgement. Working with these large and powerful creatures naturally creates an opportunity for individuals to overcome fear, develop self-confidence and improve self-awareness.
Equine-assisted activities and therapy:
Fosters patience and empathy
Deepens the ability to trust and relate to others
Increases control over frustration and anger
Develops a strong work ethic
Improves social and communication skills
Builds self-esteem and self-regulation
Participants often perceive therapeutic riding and horsemanship as a more positive experience than traditional therapy, serving as a strong motivator in achieving their therapeutic goals.