6461 El Apajo Road
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
(858)756-4117 ext. 321


Session Payments

You can be a Foster Friend to one of our horses
in our Therapeutic Riding Program!

Thank you for sponsoring the Annual Therapeutic Riding Show
The Swinerton Foundation
Ms. Norma Goodnight

Helen Woodward Animal Center thanks "The Country Friends" and The "Menard Foundation" for their support of our Therapeutic Riding program!

Special thanks to Linda Pfleger Edwards and the Harriet E. Pfleger Foundation, Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, Elizabeth and Donald Dickinson Foundation, and the Toby Wells Foundation for making our weekly riding lessons possible


Therapeutic Riding – Horse
Therapy for Children and Adults with Special Needs

The Center's Therapeutic Riding program benefits children and adults who have a variety of special needs relating to cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, and autism to stroke recovery and learning disabilities. Students ride specially trained horses with our certified instructors in weekly sessions to develop increased balance and muscle control, improve concentration and short-term memory, and enhance their confidence and self-esteem.

See how Therapeutic Riding at Helen Woodward Animal Center is changing the lives of the Ausen family.


Therapeutic Riding News and Notes

As we look forward to 2014, the therapeutic riding program has many wonderful memories to look back on from 2013.  For the first time we hosted the outside group, The Blue Roses Girls, who focus on providing a positive social experience for girls with social, sensory, cognitive, and physical differences.  The girls and their families were eager to learn all about horses, and the many volunteers who gave their time that day made for a fun, safe experience for all involved.  This year our annual horse show had the theme “Game On!” and students were able to show off how they learn horse skills while playing fun riding games such as bean bag toss, soccer, and bowling. (What? You didn’t know horses could bowl? Ours can!).  The Santa Ana winds didn’t dampen any spirits, and our incredible team of horses acted as if it was just another day out with their favorite riders.

We have welcomed new team members, Gina Gregory and Tiffani Choi.  Tiffani came to us with a degree in Animal Science and her PATH certification, and has been a great help caring for the horses.  Gina worked incredibly hard from the moment she came on staff and achieved her certification in October.  Gina has quickly endeared herself to volunteers and her students alike. 

Moving into 2014, the program will be running expanded 9-lesson sessions rather than 8 lessons and make-up week.  This has the significant benefit of reducing the amount of time the students will be on break from their lessons.  Rather than a potential three weeks off of riding (if the student didn’t need a make-up lesson), now riders will have a one week break between sessions, which will help with the retention of riding skills, balance, strength, and motor skills.  We’re very excited about this improvement to the program, and look forward to seeing the positive impact this will make for our students in the new year.