Ride for Joy serves individuals of all ages, from 4 to 104, with both physical, emotional and cognitive special needs.

After evaluation and admission, students typically ride one day per week for 20-45 minutes, depending on the student.  Sessions last from four to eight weeks and are seasonal. Each lesson is planned and facilitated by a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor or Instructor-in-Training working under the guidance of a Certified Instructor. Lesson plans with goals and objectives are prepared for each student as the instructor helps the student work toward the ultimate goal of independent riding.

Ride for Joy currently provides the equine assisted activity of therapeutic riding, which has tremendous therapeutic benefits but differs from “equine assisted therapy” in the following ways:

  • Goals are equine related and include improvement of riding ability, acquisition of leisure skills, self accomplishment, and animal/human interaction
  • Goals are adapted to meet each individual participant’s needs
  • May result in improvement in social skills, quality of life and mobility
  • Focus is on recreation, leisure, sport, and education
  • Therapists may be consulted, but goals are set by the certified instructors and focus on the leisure activity of riding.



Ride for Joy applicants must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • 4 years and older
  • Weigh 200 lbs or less
  • Physically able to sit with torso vertical and legs astride the horse
  • Physically able to maintain head and neck position without assistance


RFJ has a waiting list for services.  Following receipt of a completed, mailed application, the student’s name is placed on the waiting list.  The application is screened to determine if there are any physical or mental contraindications that would make equine assisted activities inappropriate for the applicant.  If not, and there is room for new participants on the current schedule, an evaluation will be scheduled.  All applicants are evaluated before being admitted to the program to ensure that riding lessons can be safely provided and benefit the rider.  Evaluations cost $25/student.

An evaluation is also required for returning individuals who have not participated in Ride for Joy for more than 12 months and may be required for other returning individuals, at the sole discretion of the Ride for Joy staff.  All students must submit a completed application and physician release yearly.

All admission and scheduling decisions are made at the sole discretion of the Ride for Joy staff.  

The following packet must be reviewed prior to completion of a Student Application:

Have any questions? Contact Program Manager, Heather Miner, at