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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between hippotherapy and adaptive riding?

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 specially 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 participant(s).

Riders in both programs 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!

What is Ground Work?

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.


Does insurance cover services?

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.


What is the cost?

Weekly Adaptive Riding/Ground Work/Horsemanship Lessons:

  • Private: $65 / session
  • Semi-private (up to 2 participants): $60 / session
  • Group (up to 4 riders): $400 / 8 weeks

Hippotherapy:

  • $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.

My child does not have a disability. How do I sign my child up for sessions?

Promise Ranch offers limited session slots for individuals without disabilities. Please inquire via our contact form.


My child does not have a disability. Do I need to fill out all of the forms for them to be able to participate?

Yes. All riders need to have a complete set of paperwork to be able to participate.


What happens if my child is sick, or unable to make their session?

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.


What happens in inclement weather?

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.


What forms are required for my child to participate?

Due to insurance and industry best practices, ALL participants must have Registration, Physician, and Policies completed.


What do participants wear?

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

How often does a participant participate?

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.


What qualifies this program to provide this service?

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.


What are the benefits of riding and working with horses?

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.


When are sessions given?

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


Are there age and weight limits for riders?

Children must be 2 years or older for our hippotherapy programs, and 4 years or older for our therapeutic/adaptive riding program. There is no upper age limit. Potential riders must first have an evaluation by our Occupational Therapist to ensure riding is a beneficial activity for them. If riding is not yet recommended, we offer Ground Work lessons and off-horse Occupational and Speech Therapies.

At this time, our therapy horses cannot accommodate individuals over 175 pounds.


Who does PRTR serve?

Promise Ranch Therapeutic Riding serves individuals of all ages with physical, cognitive, and intellectual disabilities, individuals with mental health disorders, 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 therapeutic riding and hippotherapy, we also offer special programming opportunities for schools, day programs, assisted living communities, community groups, and our Veterans.



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