Human Services

HEARTS THERAPEUTIC EQUESTRIAN CENTER

Where Horses Help People

aka Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Santa Barbara, CA

Mission

Our mission is to employ the power of the horse to enhance the capabilities of children and adults with special needs in Santa Barbara County. We assist residents of Santa Barbara County who have physical, cognitive, or psychological challenges due to injury, illness, or disability. Therapeutic horseback riding significantly improves the capacities, independence, self-esteem, relationships and overall health of these individuals while enhancing their enjoyment of life.

Ruling Year

1999

Executive Director

Ms. Pamme Mickelson

Main Address

PO Box 30662

Santa Barbara, CA 93130 USA

Formerly Known As

Hearts Adaptive Riding Program, Inc.

Keywords

equine-assisted therapy, disabled population, volunteers, therapeutic riding, disabled, seniors, elderly, disabled children, disabled adults, horses, horseback riding

EIN

77-0460907

 Number

6278542699

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations (P80)

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

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

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

Many people with disabilities of all types fail to thrive in traditional therapeutic settings. For those who have physical disabilities, physical therapy is often slow, tedious, and works only certain areas of need. Those with emotional disabilities are sometimes overwhelmed by human interaction, and talk therapy can take years to impact someone's life. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, gains are often slow and challenging. Our approach with equine therapy is unique in that it exercises the entire body, it creates an emotional bonding with an equine that is safe and not overwhelming, and is fun, empowering, and exciting, which encourages people with all disabilities to stick with it and improve dramatically in a relatively short time.

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

Summer Camp at Hearts

Therapeutic Riding Program

Veterans Program

Therapeutic Horsemanship

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 volunteers

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years),

Adults,

Aging, elderly, senior citizens

Related program

Therapeutic Riding Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of participants engaged in programs

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Therapeutic Riding Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of veterans with PTSD served

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Veterans Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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?

We empower residents of Santa Barbara County who have physical, cognitive, or psychological challenges due to injury, age, illness, or disability. Therapeutic horseback riding significantly improves the physical and cognitive capacities, relationships, self-esteem and overall health of these individuals, while enhancing their enjoyment of life.

Hearts uses the power of the horse to enhance the capabilities and quality of life for children and adults with special needs. The movement of a horse stimulates the body and works the muscles of the rider in a manner similar to the human stride. This motion cannot be duplicated by machines or in physical therapy. Examples of the unique classes we offer and which have proven to be incredibly successful are a program for veterans with PTSD, and a collaboration with the Braille Institute to provide classes for people with impaired vision.

Weekly lessons are individually designed to capitalize upon a rider's capabilities while improving areas of impairment. For physically challenged riders, therapeutic results include an increased ability to sit, stand or walk unassisted as well as improved coordination, flexibility, circulation, and general health. Riders with mental challenges improve in attention span, ability to follow directions, communication skills, and a greater ability to process auditory and visual information. Those with emotional disturbances demonstrate better control of their emotions and behavior, improved relationships, and greater self esteem. Horseback riding is an exhilarating and motivating experience that enhances our riders' overall happiness, health and quality of life. In addition to our weekly lesson program, we conduct an annual student horse show, offer summer horse camps that integrate able-bodied children and those with disabilities.

Founded in 1985, Hearts has been providing therapeutic horseback riding and horsemanship activities to disabled individuals aged 4-90 for over 33 years. We are recognized by the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH) as a “Premier" facility, the highest level, with superb adherence to PATH's strict safety, administrative and program guidelines. We have an extensive volunteer program and are committed to humane treatment and excellent care of equines who may be longer useful to professional riders, but are healthy and able to maintain productive lives as therapeutic horses.

The improved functioning and quality of life that our riders experience is measured through regular parental/student surveys, by tracking individual goal achievement, and through discussions with students regarding the accomplishment of their personal and therapeutic goals. At the beginning of each session, goals for each rider are defined based on input from riders, parents, instructors, and recommendations from doctors and therapists. Notes are made by instructors for each rider in a lesson about whether lesson goals are met. The lessons are planned to help each rider meet his or her session goals. At the end of each 12-week session, goal achievement is assessed. This information is used to help plan each rider's goals for the following session. Records are kept for each rider to document progress.

Our impact on the community will be measured by the number of additional riders attending classes weekly at Hearts and the total annual number of unduplicated riders. In addition, our value to the community is reflected by our collaborations with other agencies serving disabled populations. Currently we are working with 9 other community organizations. Hearts differs from these partner programs by utilizing horses to provide therapeutic benefits rather than in a clinical setting. Because it is so motivating and efficient, therapeutic riding is a very effective adjunct to traditional physical and occupational therapy. Another indication of progress will be the additional number of partner organizations we develop over the next 3-year Strategic Plan period.

Hearts has provided over 7500 hours of lessons over the years. We have steadily grown over the last 5 years from 42 to 93 weekly riders and participants. In addition to benefiting more members of the community, our plans for expansion are designed to increase ongoing revenue streams. While increasing the number of people we serve has resulted in increased lesson revenues, these fees cover only 33% of the actual cost of our services. Our overhead expenses continue to increase as we grow, primarily for instructor salaries and horse care expenses. Additionally, our growing services have created the need for additional horses and equipment.

Capital campaign planning is underway to build a new facility at an adjacent location on County of Santa Barbara land. The County has been extremely generous in its lease terms as they value our program's role in the community. Increasing our revenue stream will help in long-term sustainability for this vital service for Santa Barbara County residents.

External Reviews

Financials

HEARTS THERAPEUTIC EQUESTRIAN CENTER

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Operations

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

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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

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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 & TRANSPARENCY

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

No

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