Therapeutic Riding & Horsemanship Horse SenseAbility

Record last updated 2019/05/23 Comment on this info .Update this info

Contact Information

Horse SenseAbility
Contact: Polly Kornblith, Executive Director
Email Address:
Phone: 617-504-5299
Alternate Phone: 508-744-6774

Horse SenseAbility at Wildstar Farm Sherborn, MA 01770-1281
Area Served: Central

Map Location 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 at-risk. The horse’s movement stimulates brain function, often leading to significant gains in language, neurological organization and self-confidence. All Horse SenseAbility instructors are either certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) or are supervised by someone who is.

Benefits of Therapeutic Riding & Horsemanship for People on the Spectrum

Our horses are invaluable educators and therapy partners. A horse doesn’t care what we look like, if we can see, if we take medication, or what happened to us at school or home that day. 

Horses live in the moment. They respond to kindness and patience, not appearances or expectations. Gaining the trust and respect of a 1000-pound animal takes self-control and builds self-esteem. 

Taking care of an animal, especially a large one, teaches children and young adults to accept responsibilities. Learning to work with and ride a horse requires determination and perseverance.

The benefits of mounted and unmounted activities (otherwise known as “horsemanship”) are manifold, many:

  • Behavioral – Participants learn to regulate their behavior, recognize behavioral changes occurring, interpret the horse’s and their own body language, and employ coping strategies.
  • Cognitive – The horse provides a strong motivator for participants. Riding and horsemanship sessions incorporate activities and games designed to help achieve specific goals such as following multi-step directions and staying on task. 
  • Emotional – The relationships that develop among participants, volunteers, horses and staff are an integral part of a positive, emotional experience provided by a therapeutic riding and horsemanship program. Overcoming fear and anxiety as well as the ability to master riding and other skills help individuals realize self-worth and increase self-confidence.
  • Physical – The horse’s movement has a dynamic effect on the rider’s body. It stimulates brain function, which can lead to significant gains in language, mobility, neurological organization and self-confidence.
  • Sensory – The sights and sounds a participant encounters on a farm contribute to the overall sensory experience. Being in nature helps reduce stress, negative thinking, aggression, blood pressure and heart rate while increasing happiness, productivity and cognitive performance. 
  • Social – Equine-assisted activities provide an opportunity for participants to interact with their peers, volunteers and staff in a positive and enjoyable environment. 
  • piritual – The horse-human bond helps ground individuals in the present and raises self-awareness. Interaction with animals can have a profound positive effect on the spirit and soul of all who work with them.

Service Types

  • Horseback Riding
  • Mental Health
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Relationship/Friendship Support

Program Type

  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Recreation/Arts/Social and Leisure
  • Relationships/Friendships

Populations Served

  • Asperger's Syndrome
  • Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyper Activity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum
  • Behavior Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Language Impairment
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Illness
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Phobia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Speech Impairment
  • Suicide Loss Survivors

Ages Served

  • 5 - 8
  • 9 - 13
  • 14 - 18
  • 19 - 22
  • 23 – 59

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

Accessibility Features

  • Accessible Parking
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • Wheelchair Ramps

Additional Information

  • Accredited By: Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
  • Fees: Free Service, Personal Funds
  • Licensed By: Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship and Commonwealth of Massachusetts