Mission Statement
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Glenoak Therapeutic Riding Center is an accredited, for-profit organization which provides equine-assisted therapy and rehabilitation for children and adults with physical, mental, emotional and learning disabilities.

Glenoak delivers therapeutic riding opportunities in a manner that challenges disabled riders to achieve their maximum potential and rewards their efforts.  This approach, which emphasizes individual attention and motivation, is staff and volunteer intensive, but the rewards for the rider are directly proportionate to the effort expended.  Glenoak’s goal is to help each rider achieve the maximum independence his/her circumstances will allow.

Program Impact
The relationship between disabled riders, Glenoak’s certified therapeutic riding instructors and special therapy horses is the catalyst to miracles in handicapped lives.  Glenoak’s program is about children and adults who reach beyond the confines of their disabilities because of the intervention of this special therapy team.

Physically, equine-assisted therapy takes disabled riders through complex series of movements which consciously and unconsciously use all of the body’s muscles.  The horse rhythmically and naturally moves the body in a manner similar to the human gait, improving posture, balance and muscle control.

Mentally, equine-assisted therapy increases concentration, improves sequential thought processing, increases the rider’s ability to articulate emotions and develops spatial awareness.

Emotionally, equine-assisted therapy provides the opportunity for riders to bond with the horse, instructor and volunteers, which assists in the development of trust.  It is also effective in calming emotive outbursts and reinforcing appropriate behaviors.  Contact with the horses and horsemanship training provide a non-competitive setting for learning.  New abilities, self-discipline and improved concentration build self-confidence.

Socially, equine-assisted therapy nurtures a positive self-image.  Disabled riders often experience independence for the first time in their lives.  They also develop an awareness of being part of a team.  All riders have the ability to learn skills and participate in a recognized sport.  All riders grow in self-esteem which they take back into their own worlds.

Read "Changing Lives One Trot At A Time" Here!

Benefits of Equine-Assisted Therapy
Benefits consistently cited by our disabled riders and their families, therapists and doctors include:Increased range of motion and muscle tone;
•        Improved gross and fine motor skills, balance, posture and coordination;
•        Increased concentration, spatial awareness/orientation, self-awareness and self-discipline;
•        Increased independence at home and school; and,
•        Increased self-esteem due to the acquisition of skill in a recognized sport.

Disabilities Impacted

  • Spina Bifida
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Developmental Delay
  • Closed Head Injury
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Downs Syndrome
  • Cerebal Palsy
  • Vision Impairment
  • Mental Retardation
  • Paralysis
  • Scoliosis
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Attention Deficit Disorders
  • Autism
  • Stroke
  • Amputation

One Rider's Story

Tony Hojnacki was introduced to his first horse in 1989. Polio contracted at age 2 left Tony with severe scoliosis, weakened left hand and arm, little to no muscle strength in his legs, and not enough stomach muscles to sit without tiring. Despite his physical challenges, Tony began to ride. He gained strength in all muscle groups and experienced increased stamina to the point that he now can, for the first time, use a three-wheeled bicycle that he powers with his arms. He has increased trunk control and balance, enabling him to work, productively, as a graphic artist for longer periods of time. All of this improvement has been achieved at mid-life, when the norm for a person with his disabilities is physical deterioration.

As an organization dedicated to helping disabled individuals reach their greatest potential through equine-assisted therapy, we were profoundly touched by Tony’s testimonial:

“What a different story it might have been if we listened to those who said we couldn’t ride. . .What a void would exist if disabled horseback riding suddenly disappeared.  In a hopeless world we might expect such things.  But there is no such thing as hopelessness in the world of disabled horseback riding.  No such word.  Here there’s a place for everyone.  Something for everyone.  Something for everyone to accomplish.  Someone always willing to be our friend.  So when we came along we found that we could ride.  We found that we could progress.  We found that we could belong and there was someone willing to help.  It was all of you who made the difference.  What a difference you have made.”  

Policy Changes for GTRC

  1. Volunteers not having 25 hours of volunteer service the prior month will not be eligible to ride free in volunteer class. Cost per class is $45.00 for those not eligible, but wishing to ride in the volunteer class. Volunteers only allowed to use therapy horses not boarded/therapy horses.
  2. Horse usage will determine the monthly credit issued on boarded/therapy horses. Each class =$5.00 credit, calculated on the previous month's usage chart. Private lessons taken by owners do not count toward usage credit.
  3. Please, volunteers, instructors, and boarders clean up after yourself and your horse in the cross ties, WASH rack, and anyplace that they are outside of their stalls. Including all grass areas not in the pastures or arenas.
  4. We are working toward having a bridle for each horse labeled with his or her names on it. If you are a horse owner and your horse is used in the classes, please furnish the bridle you want to be used on your horse with his or her name on it and hang it on the therapy horse rack in the therapeutic tack room.
  5. Any suggestions are appreciated to better the facility and overall operation.