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Therapeutic Horsemanship is Operating at Limited Capacity

Children and adults, ages 4 and older with and without special needs, enjoy the many benefits of the therapeutic horsemanship program tailored to their physical, mental and emotional strengths and capabilities.
Register for 2021 Sessions and Pay Online


Our therapeutic horsemanship program includes:
  • Horseback riding lessons that teach basic horseback riding and horse handling skills. Physical exercises and educational activities are woven into the riding lesson making it therapeutic for the riders.
  • Ground lessons provide opportunities to interact and bond with horses by participating in grooming, feeding, and being hands-on with the horse. It fosters curiosity, responsibility, and compassion.
  • Ground activities may include fun horse-themed arts and crafts projects and activities to teach campers about horses.
  • Equine-Assisted Team Building programs customized for corporate and nonprofit groups, schools and universities, scout troops, sports teams, clubs, and others.

Our Therapeutic Horsemanship Program serves individual groups and local schools in the Cleveland area, and recreational activities for campers during the summer months.

Benefits of Therapeutic Horseback Riding for Children with Disabilities

  • Balance, posture, strength
  • Flexibility
  • Teamwork, cooperation
  • Self-confidence, self-esteem
  • Emotional control, self-discipline
  • Sense of normality
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Visual/spatial perception
  • Remedial math and reading skills
  • Advanced equestrian skills
Want to check if a class has been canceled due to weather?
Canceled classes will be announced on through our cancellation line 2 hours prior to start of class start time:
Call 440-238-6200 ext. 255

If the actual temperature is 15 degrees or below, or if a driving ban has been issued, classes are canceled. If the actual temperature is 16 or above, classes proceed as scheduled. This is based on information found on zip code 44136. Since the majority of our classes are in the evening, we are not automatically closed when Strongsville schools are closed. Our heated arena temperature is set at 40-45 degrees, so dress in layers. Although it is cold in the barn, it is very comfortable in the arena when the heaters are turned on.


Download our Horsemanship Program Social Story here

Learn more about volunteering here

Interested in donating an item to help our
Therapeutic Horsemanship Program?
Download our Wish List here.  Thank you!

Camp Cheerful’s Therapeutic Horsemanship Program is certified as a Premier Accredited Center Program by The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). Camp Cheerful’s Therapeutic Horsemanship Program is one of only twelve such accredited centers in Ohio that provides quality professional equine-assisted activities while meeting established industry standards. All of Camp Cheerful’s Therapeutic Horsemanship instructors are certified and registered by PATH.

2021 Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program:

All sessions are 10 weeks
The cost is $350 per session.

  • Riding and horsemanship classes are available for riders with and without disabilities.
  • Class offerings include morning, evening and Saturday options based on availability and rider ability, which will be determined after the application and intake process has been completed.
  • Classes are 1 hour per week for 10 weeks with an average of 5 riders in each class.
Register and Pay Online
 Download a registration packet:

Download our Therapeutic Horsemanship Student Handbook here.


2021 Session Dates:

Session 1:  Jan 11 – Mar 13 (9 weeks)  No classes – 1/18 and 2/15

Session 2:  Mar 15 – May 22  (10 weeks)

Session 3:  May 24 – July 31 (10 weeks)  – No classes 5/31

Session 4:  Aug 2 – Oct 9 (10 weeks)  – No classes 9/6

Session 5:  Oct 11 – Dec 18 (10 weeks)  – No classes 11/25 and 11/26

Rider Information

What should my child wear to their riding lesson? What do I do if we need to miss a lesson? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below to help prepare for our Therapeutic Horseback Riding lessons.

Have questions? Contact Cory Ramsey at 440-238-6200 ext. 225 or email


Our caring and dedicated volunteers, ages 14 and over, walk alongside riders during lessons, lead horses or help with barn-related tasks. No experience is required – we provide training for new volunteers, and on-going learning opportunities.

Learn more about volunteering here
Have questions?
Call Hannah Hayes at 440-238-6200 ext. 225 or email

Horse and Equipment Donations

The Achievement Centers’ Camp Cheerful maintains an average of nine horses and accepts new donations on an as-needed basis. If we feel your horse is a candidate, we will schedule a visit to your home or stable to evaluate your horse both medically and under saddle. We can also answer any questions you might have about our horse donation procedures. All of our horses undergo a standard 30-day trial period. Horse donations are tax-deductible.

If you have a prospective horse donation, please contact Marissa Margraf at 440-238-6200 ext. 238, or email

Interested in donating an item to help our Therapeutic Horsemanship program?
Download our Wish List here

Therapeutic Horseback Riding FAQs

What should my rider wear?

For safety reasons, all riders are required to wear long pants, closed-toe shoes with a heel and a riding helmet. Helmets are available for riders to borrow from the barn or may be purchased at a local tack shop.

What are the eligibility requirements?

The current program weight limit is 180 lbs for independent riders and 60 lbs for riders who cannot sit up on their own. This standard is based on PATH International policies pertaining to the safety of the rider, horse, instructor and volunteers. Periodic evaluations will be made throughout the year to assess the rider’s weight, ability, balance, behavior, etc. to ensure that therapeutic riding is safe and beneficial. This evaluation may include a weigh-in on our scale and/or an assessment on our stretching barrel.

Do parents need to help in the lessons?

It has been our experience that most riders stay more attentive and focused when the parent is not interacting with the rider during their lesson. For this reason, we ask that parents watch their rider from the observation room in the barn. Our goal for lessons is that the instructor always has the correct ratio of volunteer help for each lesson. In the interest of safety, if the instructor is short on volunteer help, she may ask if you are willing to sidewalk (tennis shoes or boots may be borrowed in the barn). If we are unable to conduct the lesson with ratios that meet the instructor’s requirements, a ground lesson will be substituted. While the riders are participating in mounted riding lessons, we ask that parents refrain from talking, waving, coaching and distracting the rider from the area that they are auditing the lesson.

What is a ground lesson?

A ground lesson allows the riders to explore a whole new world with their horse. This is an opportunity to interact and bond with the horse by participating in grooming, feeding, and being hands-on with their horse in animated ground activities. It fosters curiosity, responsibility and compassion. Ground lessons will be conducted at the instructor’s discretion and in the event mounted lessons are not able to be conducted due to weather conditions.

Why is it that sometimes my rider has a horse leader, side walkers and additional volunteers, and sometimes he/she does not?

There could be several answers. We may have changed the rider’s horse. If it is an older, experienced horse which knows his job well, we can lighten up on volunteer support. If it is a new horse to the rider, we want to be sure they are comforted by support staff nearby. If it is a less experienced horse, we want to have support in place for horse and rider. If the activity planned for the day is more challenging, we may add support staff. We also train new volunteers side-by-side with experienced volunteers, so you may see extra “hands” that day.

Why do you do similar activities weekly?

Horseback riding, like any other sport activity, is a series of skills which become increasingly challenging as they are perfected, and build on each other for technique and confidence. Our instructors have a skills encyclopedia which they use to build lesson plans for each student. Repetition builds learning and confidence. It helps in learning discipline, sequencing and decision-making. As riders advance, these skills become second nature as they seek more challenging pursuits. Repetition allows the instructor to evaluate growth in each skill area throughout a session, and looks for consistency.

Why is my rider’s horse changed?

Sometimes a horse needs a rest due to an unexpected injury. Sometimes a horse is retired or removed from the program. As the skill level of a rider increases, we often give them a more challenging horse to ride. It is also a goal of the program to have each rider learn to ride more than one horse in a lesson. This is important in case of an unexpected change and is vitally important to building trust and confidence as part of the rider’s skills. We try to talk to parents and riders beforehand, but it is not always possible. If you have a concern, please speak with the instructor.

Why do you change equipment for the rider or the horse?

In the initial evaluation, decisions are made for horse and equipment (tack). Instructors watch carefully to see that posture, balance, and comfort are supported by the choice of equipment. To enhance skill development, specialized equipment may be used, and changed to watch for desired progress. As the rider progresses, more challenging equipment may be used to foster strength and confidence.

What should I do if my rider cannot make it to his/her lesson?

As soon as you are aware that the rider will not be attending class, please call 440-238-6200 ext. 255 and leave a message including:  name, date, time of class and reason for an absence. Please call as soon as you are aware the rider will be absent or at least 2 hours prior to class start time. Cancellations made less than 2 hours prior are not eligible for a make-up session.

Achievement Centers for Children is an authorized licensee of the Cleveland Metropolitan Park District. Inquiries regarding the cooperative relationship may be directed to the Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metroparks, 4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio 44144; 216-635-3200.

Contact us for more information

Cory Ramsey

Manager of Equine Programs
440-238-6200 ext. 225

Hannah Hayes

Therapeutic Riding Volunteer Coordinator
440-238-6200 ext. 242

Marissa Margraf

Barn Coordinator/Instructor
440-238-6200 ext. 224

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