Frequently Asked Questions


Most frequent questions and answers

HIPPOTHERAPY is a medical treatment strategy employed by Occupational and Physical Therapists, and Speech and Language Pathologists, in which the movement of the horse is the primary treatment tool. In a typical hippotherapy session, clients are directed through a variety of therapeutic activities while mounted or while working with their horse on the ground. Clients primarily work in private sessions with their therapist and have the support of 1-3 volunteers.

ADAPTIVE RIDING is a recreational activity with significant therapeutic benefit. Sessions are directed by Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors who focus on teaching riding and horsemanship skills. In a typical session, participants will learn skills such as grooming, tacking, and leading, in addition to riding. Each session is tailored to meet the unique needs and goals of the participants, and sessions are often held in a group format.

In general, the general qualifications for Adaptive Riding are:

1. Ability to maintain a dynamic posture*

 *Dynamic posture is a position of readiness and preparedness. Dynamic posture is used for active movement vs Static posture for lying down, sitting, resting.

2. Ability to follow two-step directions 

3. Have interest in learning to ride, have an interest in/no fear of horses.  

Riders in Hippotherapy and Adaptive Riding benefit directly from the movement of the horse and may experience improvements in balance, core, trunk, and leg strength, fine and gross motor skills, sensory integration, and much more!

Adaptive Riding and Hippotherapy sessions generally include “off horse” time, such as grooming, tacking, and walking the horse. Sessions do not always include full “on horse” time, as the instructor or therapist determines the best treatment for each session. Part of the activity for the day may include exercises or stretching. Session time is dependent on the client’s abilities, endurance, and overall tolerance to this activity.  

In addition to our riding programs, we offer an unmounted program that has been created for those individuals who are interested in hands-on work with the horses from the ground. This program is for those who are not ready or suited for riding, those who have chosen not to ride, as well as those who currently ride and would like to learn additional horsemanship skills. In fact, many of the benefits gained from riding can also be achieved from the ground! This program focuses on learning about horse behavior and psychology, grooming, horse care, free lunging, liberty work, traditional lunging, and long lining. The benefits of Ground Work include improved self confidence through learning horse-handling techniques and increased awareness of self and equine body language. Additionally, Ground Work often allows participants to develop a greater connection with the equine that may not be as attainable during a mounted lesson.

Promise Ranch does accept Medicaid/Medicare and some other commercial insurances for speech, OT, and mental health counseling. Please fill out our contact form on the Join Us! page to learn more.

Some insurance providers may reimburse for hippotherapy services. We encourage you to seek information about possible reimbursement from your insurance provider.

Promise Ranch does accept funding for hippotherapy treatment via the Medicaid CES or SLS waivers. Please contact your Community Centered Board (such as Developmental Pathways, or Rocky Mountain Human Services) to inquire about funding for hippotherapy.

Therapeutic riding is not covered by insurance at this time as it is considered an adaptive sport and/or recreational activity.

Weekly Adaptive Riding/Ground Work/Horsemanship Lessons:

  • Class with a single participant: $65 per session
  • Class with two participants: $60 per session, per participant 
  • Class with 3-4 participants: $50 per session, per participant


  • $85 to $120/hour, billed at the end of each month. For therapy facilitated by one therapist, the cost is $85. For therapy facilitated by a co-treatment team of one therapist and one adaptive riding instructor, the cost is $120.

Occupational Therapy/Speech Therapy/Mental Health Counseling

  • Our private pay rates are comparable to the reimbursable Medicaid and Medicare rates. Please contact us for private pay rates and sliding scale rates.
Promise Ranch offers limited session slots for individuals without disabilities. Please inquire via our contact form.
Yes. All riders need to have a complete set of paperwork to be able to participate.
If you are unable to attend a scheduled session, please contact your instructor or therapist at least 24 hours in advance. Sufficient notice is needed so that we can communicate with staff and volunteers. Cancellations are not refundable. We may offer make-up sessions, depending on the circumstances.
Every effort will be made to hold scheduled sessions. Sessions will only be canceled in extreme weather cases when Promise Ranch deems that it is not safe and/or driving conditions are too hazardous.
Due to insurance and industry best practices, ALL participants must have Registration, Physician, and Policies completed.

Participants should wear long pants and boots or hard-soled, closed-toe and closed-heel shoes. Riders may bring their own helmet or use one available at the ranch.

Please remember to dress appropriately for the weather!

  • Bring warm layers, hats, and gloves in winter
  • Bring sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen in the summer
  • This is Colorado – be prepared for any and all weather events

In our adaptive riding or ground work programs, clients participate once a week, in private, semi-private, or small group sessions. Sessions are 60 minutes in length and can include catching, grooming, tacking, leading, and riding, and learning about horse care and behavior; these activities are modified as necessary to meet the needs of the individuals. Participation in ground work or adaptive riding first requires an evaluation by our Occupational Therapist to determine program placement and goals.

In our hippotherapy program, clients attend once per week in private or semi-private sessions that last up to 45 minutes and include both mounted and unmounted activities. To start, clients must begin with an off-horse evaluation conducted by one of our licensed therapists. Once hippotherapy has been determined as an appropriate treatment strategy, sessions continue until therapy goals have been met, or discharge is deemed necessary/appropriate for other reasons. The supervising therapist, in communication with the patient’s family will determine continuation or discharge at each re-evaluation.

Promise Ranch is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), which sets stringent safety and educational standards. All of Promise Ranch’s instructors are PATH Intl. certified. Additionally, the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) certifies Promise Ranch’s therapists.

Horses are great motivators! While riding a horse, participants are given the opportunity to feel freedom and power through movement. As the horse walks, the movement is transferred to the rider, providing a combination of sensory, motor, and neurological stimulation. This translates to stronger muscles, better balance and coordination, and improved gait. Just as important as the physical benefits, greater self-confidence and self-esteem can be achieved through the freedom of movement. The benefits of Ground Work also include improved self confidence through learning horse-handling techniques, increased awareness of self and equine body language, and improved executive functioning, Additionally, Ground Work often allows participants to develop a greater connection with the equine that may not be as attainable during a mounted lesson.

Sessions are offered seven days a week, Monday through Sunday. Check out the News, Schedule, & Events tab on the website for scheduled session dates.

Children must be 3 years or older for our hippotherapy program, and 4 years or older for our adaptive riding program. There is no upper age limit. Potential riders must first have an evaluation by our Occupational Therapist or Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor to ensure riding is a beneficial activity for them. If riding is not yet recommended, we offer Ground Work lessons, or other unmounted recreational programs. 

Please note that the provision of horse-mounted activities is conditional, based on combined factors of participant weight and height, horses’ physical capacity, and the availability of volunteer side-walkers, among other variables. Eligibility for participation is determined by individual instructors or therapists who are responsible for assessment and participant safety. 

Promise Ranch Therapies & Recreation serves individuals of all ages with physical, cognitive or intellectual disabilities, individuals with mental health needs, and anyone with a therapeutic or rehabilitative need.

As part of the enrollment process, we do make sure that there are no contraindications to riding and we carefully screen for precautions. We want to make sure that we offer programming that follows the highest standards of safety.

Special Programs: In addition to our regular classes and therapies, we also offer special programming opportunities for schools, day programs, assisted living communities, community groups, and our veterans. Please contact us to learn more about special programming or partnership opportunities.