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Forward Stride

Learning, growing, and healing through horse-centered activities and therapies

Beaverton, OR   |  www.forwardstride.org

Mission

Forward Stride enhances quality of life through horse-centered activities and therapies. Using the healing power of horses, Forward Stride builds lasting relationships, confidence, and new skills. Our programs work together to provide exceptional care, therapy, and support to all participants, human and equine. Everyone has challenges in life. We encourage each person to face them head on with the support of our herd and fellow humans. Along the way, emotional, cognitive, and physical milestones are reached and lifelong friendships are forged. Since 2003, Forward Stride has touched the lives of more than 2,000 people. Currently, we serve approximately 270 participants per week. Five have been with us since inception and more than 35 have been with us for over five years.

Notes from the nonprofit

Aleigha is a 10 year old participant in our Vaulting Program, and has been with Forward Stride for two years. While vaulting is her passion, she has also learned ground work (working with a horse while on the ground using a halter or bridle and lead), attended camps, helped with horse care chores, and taken riding lessons. The barn is not just a place where Aleigha can learn new skills, however. It turns out it is much more than that for this family. Aleigha feels the element of community that enriches the lives of so many participants. Vaulters are expected to help one another, from encouraging their teammates as they learn different moves, to giving each other a “leg up” to help them mount, and sharing the responsibility of cleaning up their space and caring for their horse. “As Aleigha’s parents, we have seen Aleigha grow in confidence. She has been able to identify something that brings her energy and allows her to focus on something bigger than herself." - Rebecca & Neil

Ruling year info

2004

Executive Director

Amber Varner

Main address

23839 SW Daniel Rd.

Beaverton, OR 97078 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

32-0082786

NTEE code info

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Animal Related Activities N.E.C. (D99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

With the current move toward technology and urban life, people are feeling more and more isolated in sterile, mechanical environments. This creates a need for life enriching activities and nontraditional therapies that allow the healthy influence of nature, animals, and human connection back into our lives. Traditional clinical treatment programs don’t work for every client. Even when they do, once the prescribed treatment protocol is completed, it’s difficult to find meaningful follow-up services. Individuals with disabilities are often isolated from their more typical peers and treated differently within the wider community. People’s natural desire to find fulfilling, meaningful relationships with other humans and recognize their place in the world around them is frequently hindered by our ever-increasing reliance on technology and removal from the natural environment.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Rehabilitation Services

Provides Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech and Language Pathology to medical patients by a licensed therapist. Therapists use the horse in sessions, often working with the patient while they are mounted on the horse, using the movement and posture to enhance the therapy.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
People with physical disabilities

Our inclusive Riding Program helps children and adults of all abilities develop horsemanship skills, fitness, and self-confidence. All instructors are certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Intl.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Our Veterans Program offers military veterans opportunities to participate in all of our programs free of charge.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Adults

Our Volunteer Program provides many ways to support Forward Stride, learn horse husbandry and barn maintenance skills, and be part of our community through helping with horse care, assisting with sessions, helping with facility projects, and more.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) provides therapy sessions for personal growth and treatment for those with mental disorders, utilizing horses and the natural environment for therapeutic benefit.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Equestrian Vaulting is most commonly defined as gymnastics and dance on horseback. Vaulting is an individual and team sport. At Forward Stride, we offer vaulting lessons to children and adults of all abilities, and provide the opportunity to join the Forward Stride vaulting team, The Flying Star Vaulters, in local competition.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) is an experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills for educational, professional and personal goals through equine-assisted activities.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Region 9 Volunteer of the Year 2019

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International

Region 9 Equine of the Year 2021

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International

Region 9 Volunteer of the Year 2021

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Forward Stride seeks to improve the quality of life of our community. We have a goal of providing high quality equine-assisted activities and therapies to all who could benefit. We work to ensure that all creatures, human and equine, who come through our gates have the opportunity to learn, grow, and heal.

For more than 15 years, using the healing power of horses, Forward Stride has been building lasting relationships, confidence, and new skills. Our programs work together to provide exceptional care, therapy, and support to all participants, human and equine. Everyone has challenges in life. We encourage each person to face them head on with the support of our herd and fellow humans. Along the way, emotional, cognitive, and physical milestones are reached and lifelong friendships are forged.

Therapy that works with horses, and all of the smells, sounds, movements, and emotions that come with them and their environment, is a dynamic, powerful modality that cannot be replicated in an office environment. Although they are receiving highly effective medical or mental health therapy, the reason many clients give for returning every week is that the horse and the barn provide an additional feeling of being freed from the confines of traditional therapies. Even after their prescribed treatments are completed, they often find they wish to continue their growth by remaining a part of Forward Stride’s community in a different program.

Forward Stride’s inclusive model means people of all abilities have the opportunity to learn, grow and heal alongside one another, fostering an environment of true diversity, tolerance, and acceptance.We ensure everyone receives the appropriate amount of support on and off of the horse to enable successful accomplishments at home and in the barn in support of daily life.

There are few places where so many humans and animals gather to accomplish meaningful goals every day. Volunteers, staff, clients, and horses grow together through real-time challenges and mindful interactions. These shared experiences create impactful memories, instill problem-solving techniques and grow lasting friendships.

Forward Stride recognizes the power of the horses to be our best teachers, while being equal partners with our staff, volunteers, and clients. Our focus is on working together to draw the best from everyone in the group. The acts of caring for and partnering with our beautiful animals teach respect, empathy and stewardship for the world around us and for our fellow humans.

Since its founding, Forward Stride has achieved Premier Accreditation status through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl.). Forward Stride must demonstrate it meets 94 rigorous standards regarding service delivery, safety, and horse care. Forward Stride is one of a handful of truly inclusive centers in the nation, offering services to people with and without disabilities, and utilizing the same placement criteria for all individuals. All of our therapists are either licensed in their respective discipline or appropriately supervised as allowed by Oregon statutes. All Rehabilitation Services therapists are certified by the American Hippotherapy Association, and many Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy therapists have specialized training through Natural Lifemanship and/or the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). All of our instructors maintain up-to-date certification with PATH Intl. Forward Stride is also a member of the Star Behavioral Health Providers’ registry and a member of the American Vaulting Association.

Program fees, individual donations, foundation support, corporate giving, and in-kind services create a balanced, income-based stream of revenue. Our Board is knowledgeable and supportive, and our staff are passionate, highly-trained professionals.

Forward Stride has a 16-year history of providing horse-centered therapy. We started with a therapeutic riding program which has continued since our inception. Soon after that we added Rehabilitation Services to our offerings, increasing our ability to serve clients through both therapeutic activities and clinical therapies. We have since added our Volunteer Program, Vaulting Program, our Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy program, our Equine Facilitated Learning program, and our Vocational Program, allowing us to serve even more individuals in a multitude of ways.

Over the past year, Forward Stride has expanded its psychotherapy offerings to include skills training as well as peer-delivered services in the area of addiction counseling.

We also started Working in Tandem, a mentoring program for children ages 3-17 who are in foster care or have been adopted. Working in Tandem’s goal is to help promote a positive relationship between the child and the mentor, assisting in emotional growth through horse-centered activities.

Forward Stride is also proud to be the home center for 2019 PATH Region 9 Volunteer of the Year, Kathrin Randall, in addition to several horses and volunteers who have been recognized over the past six years.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Forward Stride
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Forward Stride

Board of directors
as of 04/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rena Snyder

Retired Portland General Electric

Melody Finn

Sodexo

Helena Lulay

Sears Holdings

Susan Sjordal

Retired State of Oregon

Michael Feves

Earth Dynamics LLC

Kara Martin-Beijer

Avid

James Anderson

Cummins, Goodman, Denley, & Vickers

Gwyn Hilden

Heritage Bank NW

Barbara Crabbe

Pacific Crest Sporthorse

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/29/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/15/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.