Health—General & Rehabilitative

Special Equestrians, Inc.

Making Miracles Happen

aka SE



Special Equestrians,Inc. is a local nonprofit organization which provides therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving and equine-assisted activities and therapies to children and adults with disabilities.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Special Equestrians achieved Premier Accreditation Center status with the North American Riding For the Handicapped Association (NARHA) in 2005. NARHA changed their name in 2011 to Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl. (PATH Intl). Premier Accreditation status has been retained since 2005. Re-accreditation is a process that must be repeated every five years.

Special Equestrians has been a United Way Partner Agency since 2004.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Jan Fifer

Board President

Erin Houck-Toll

Main Address

PO Box 61528


Formerly Known As



handicapped riders, disabled riders, physically challenged riders, therapeutic riding





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Health Support Services (E60)

Equestrian, Riding (N69)

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

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

In expanding our programs and services, it has been difficult to keep up with the volunteer needs of our organization. We are working hard towards increasing our volunteer base to service the expansion of our organization.

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

Special Equestrians, Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of children and adults served during each week with therapeutic horseback riding classes

Population(s) served

People with disabilities

Related program

Special Equestrians, Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context notes

Special Equestrians offers therapeutic horseback riding, therapeutic carriage driving classes and equine assisted activities and therapies to persons with disabilities and to veterans

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?

As a nonprofit offering therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted activities and therapies to persons with disabilities, our goal is to enhance the lives of our participants, cognitively, physically and socially, in a safe environment.

Special Equestrians uses equines as a tool for our learning environment. Lessons may be mounted or unmounted, with learning taking place in each type of setting. We have therapeutic riding classes set up for four days of the week, 33 weeks of the year. During the therapeutic riding classes, we have four paid PATH Intl. certified instructors who teach our classes. We also have a therapeutic carriage driving program taught by a PATH Intl. certified driving instructor. These classes will be offered during the late fall, winter, and early spring. In 2017, Special Equestrians began offering occupational therapy services using hippotherapy as a treatment modality.

Special Equestrians is located on property that is owned by our organization. It was purchased in 2007 and at this time, our property is approximately 15 acres. At our facility, we have two areas for our classes, one is a covered riding arena and the other is a Sensory Integration Trail.

In order to run our organization, we need many volunteers to make it all happen. At this time,we have approximately 140 volunteers who come to Special Equestrians each week. Last year, our volunteers gave over 24,000 hours of volunteer service.

Our classes and lessons are all taught by certified riding instructors who are associated with PATH Intl., The Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship. We are a Premier Accredited Center, which means that we must follow the standards set forth by PATH Intl. Every 5 years, we must go through re-accreditation. We have retained this distinction since 2005.

Since 2011, we have increased the number of participants served by 40%. This increase can be contributed to increasing the number of instructors, adding more equines to our program and recruiting more volunteers to run and maintain our program.

Each year, Special Equestrians performs outcome measurements for our program to make sure that we are successful in serving our population. We always equal or surpass the numbers from the previous year, which have always shown our program to be working extremely well. The outcome measurements consist of a Rider Survey which is given to the parents, caregivers or adult riders in Special Equestrians. The 2nd outcome measurement is a Rider Skills Chart, which is completed by the instructors.

We have accomplished so much since our beginnings in 1987. We have our own property with a 12 stall horse barn, caretaker home, office, covered riding arena, sensory integration trail, new pasture land for our equine, a new outreach program, 3 paid instructors and 4 volunteer instructors, our own drill team made up of our independent riders, a dedicated board of directors and the distinction since 2005 of being a Premier Accredited Center with the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship. Special Equestrians is debt-free at this time. In 2013, we were able to pay off our property mortgage. Our future holds additional services such as hippotherapy, therapeutic carriage driving lessons, and a Veteran's program. Our carriage driving instructor has begun the driving classes. We also have an occupational therapist who is a PATH certified therapist for hippotherapy. She has been offering her OT services in this area since 2017. We would like to expand our unmounted veterans program.

How We Listen

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

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
check_box We shared information about our current feedback practices.
How is the organization collecting feedback?
We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), paper surveys.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.
With whom is the organization sharing feedback?
We share feedback with: our staff, our funders.
What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?
It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.

External Reviews


North American Riding for the Handicapped Association - Accreditation 2005


Premier Accredited Center (Accreditation) 2014

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Int'l)

Nine Pet Partner Teams 2016

Pet Partners

Affiliations & Memberships

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International 2017

United Way Member Agency 2017

Chamber of Commerce 2017



Special Equestrians, Inc.

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

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?

Not Applicable


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?


Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


No data

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

No data

Race & Ethnicity

No data

Gender Identity

No data

Sexual Orientation

No data


No data