Health—General & Rehabilitative


aka Prancing Horse Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship

Southern Pines, NC


The mission of Prancing Horse is to enhance the lives of individuals with special needs by providing a safe environment for therapeutic horsemanship. We are a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International member, certified at the premier level. All of our instructors are PATH certified.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Ms. Judy Lewis

Main Address

P.O. Box 327

Southern Pines, NC 28388 USA


Therapeutic horseback riding, disability





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Health Support Services (E60)

Rehabilitative Medical Services (E50)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

We are constantly in need of volunteers. Our current force of ~ 100 work hard either serving as active members of our board; on one or more of our six standing committees; in the arena with the horses/clients; at the farm performing the constant maintenance required to keep our facility up to top PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International standards; and in our gently used tack shop, A Bit Used. We are reaching out to recruit new volunteers through local media; our two annual fundraising events; current volunteers; and presentations we give to local business and civic groups. We are also working to assess current and future staff needs. As our organization continues to grow, we will need to expand our staff in a fiscally responsible way.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.


Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Equine assisted activities for children and adults with disability

Freedom Reins

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

* ensure long-term sustainability while continuing to provide a high quality, safe, life-altering opportunity to our clients. * grow our staff * While we may increase the annual number of clients with disability we serve, we want to make certain that any client expansion does not negatively affect the high quality of our current programs. We will continue to adhere to the highest standards of performance, treating each client with dignity and respect, and monitoring changing trends in our industry to make sure our programs are We'd also like to establish a program designed for seniors and field trips for groups focused on troubled youth. * establish and operate summer activities for children with disability * host PATH certified training on site for other PATH organizations and the general public. * provide able-bodied riding lessons * become certified to provide hippotherapy and other mental health therapy * offer support groups to parents and caregivers of children with special needs

We built a covered arena so that operation of our programs is not weather dependent. This arena is lit so we can work with clients after dark. Additionally, we fenced a second outdoor arena to allow multiple activities to occur at the same time. Finally, we now also have a round pen for training our horses and for on ground client work. To implement new activities and programs we must first be focused on long-term sustainability. We took a major step in that direction in late 2018 when we made the final payment on our 30-acre farm loan. We are now begin to focused on expanding our programs and staff in a fiscally responsible way. We currently have (and plan to maintain) a full year of operating reserves to enable us to weather potential economic downturns. Since our Executive Director (ED) is currently our primary staff member, we have developed an Executive Director succession plan to facilitate a smooth transition when the time comes. We have six very active standing committees who annually develop and implement requisite plans to meet our stated goals. Through our Public Relations/Marketing Committee we are developing a marketing plan and relevant collaterals to reach more potential clients. Specifically, since we are very close to Fort Bragg and there are many military families living in the area, this will be a target market. Through our Fund Development Committee we are continuing to develop and implement plans to reach a larger funding and potential volunteer audience through increased marketing efforts including expanding our potential with social media. We are also Identifying and developing relationships with community leaders who have an interest in equine therapy and who are willing to help us reach a broader audience of donors.

We are a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International member, certified at the Premier level. All of our teachers are PATH certified. This designation gives us great credibility in the equine community. We are the only Premier level PATH certified program in our area. With more than 13% of North Carolinians estimated as disabled in some way (US Census 2018 Community Survey), we know there is a need for our services. Prancing Horse has been an established organization in the Sandhills area of North Carolina for 36 years, and we have a solid reputation in the community. We have a strong working board of directors and six standing committees ready and willing to develop and implement our plans of action. We have a large (~ 100) pool of dedicated volunteers. We are financially solvent including an endowment and a full year of operating support in reserve to cover any potential shortfall. We have developed and are implementing a strategy for identifying and meeting with community leaders willing to help us garner larger contributions and visibility from donors interested in our mission.

Our PATH instructors work with the teachers of our public school students, the caregivers of our pre-school students from Sandhills Children's Center, the parent(s) of our private clients, and the clients themselves to design a program best suited to establish personal-best goals at the beginning of each ten-week program. While we monitor our clients during every lesson and make adjustments if needed, we also conduct a mandatory, mid-term evaluation in which the goals are reassessed and altered as necessary. A final evaluation is completed at the end of the program with success determined by the client's progress as measured against the initial program goals. We expect to see our client evaluations show positive outcomes in muscle tone, flexibility and coordination, verbalization skills, socialization and enhanced community integration as we have experienced thus far. For example, we know that our program stretches and strengthens the spastic muscles and tendons of cerebral palsy; develops core strength and muscle tone for those with downs syndrome or multiple sclerosis; relaxes muscle spasms associated with injury/paralysis; establishes a connection between horse, rider, volunteers and family for clients with autism, and builds self-esteem by empowering each student to take responsibility for his or her actions. In collaboration with the public school teachers who work with our students, we will measure increased student focus, as well as communication and cognitive skills. These goals will reinforce classroom guidelines that have been set for each student. Additionally, we will provide the opportunity for our students to develop relationships with their class peers, and we will measure success by improvement in life skills and socialization. For our military veterans and their families we will measure success as positive steps toward family, community and workforce reintegration. Furthermore, our parents, caregivers and other loved ones will have the opportunity to interact with each other while their children ride (they can share milestones that only another parent/caregiver of a child with disability can understand), and will be able to take part in an activity open to their children, as well. As an indicator of our future success, we can look to what we know we have accomplished in the past. We have seen a child speak for the first time after bonding with his horse and instructor; we have seen a child gain enough core muscle strength to walk down a public school hallway instead of using a wheelchair; we have seen veterans change from an attitude of isolation to one of hope and reintegration. As importantly, we have provided parents, caregivers and other loved ones the opportunity to join together in understanding and support.

In late 2018 we successfully concluded a 2 1/2 year $1,000,000 capital campaign to own and operate our own 30-acre facility - a major step in long-term sustainability. We have acquired a herd of twelve therapy horses and ponies. Our herd includes 3 rescues and one disabled Haflinger (Stuart is blind in one eye) In addition to purchasing large and small equipment necessary to maintain the farm, we have added three run-in sheds, bringing the total number to six - one for each of our six pastures. We also built a hay barn to store hay away from the horse barn We are providing able-bodied lessons for our volunteers. We have not yet made this opportunity available to the general public We also plan to establish parent/caregiver support groups, in addition to a summer program of activities for able-bodied and special needs youth We plan to add a program designed for senior citizens who have balance issues. We also plan to increase the number of field trips we make available to groups focused on troubled youth

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Premier Level - Professional Assoc. of Therapeutic Horsemanship International 1990



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

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?