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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between hippotherapy and therapeutic 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, patients are directed through a variety of therapeutic activities while mounted or while working with their horse on the ground. Patients primarily work in private sessions with their therapist and have the support of 1-3 volunteers.

Therapeutic, or 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!


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 Therapeutic Riding Lessons:

  • Private: $480 / 8 weeks
  • Semi-private (up to 2 riders): $440 / 8 weeks
  • Group (up to 4 riders): $400 / 8 weeks

Bi-Weekly (every other week) Therapeutic Riding Lessons:

  • Private: $240 / 8 weeks
  • Semi-private (up to 2 riders): $220 / 8 weeks
  • Group (up to 4 riders): $200 / 8 weeks

Hippotherapy:

  • $85/hour, billed at the end of each month

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 rider forms for them to be able to sign up and ride?

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


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 ride?

Due to insurance and industry best practices, ALL riders must have a complete set of Promise Ranch Rider paperwork filled out.


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 ride?

In our therapeutic/adaptive riding program, most participants ride once a week, in private, semi-private, or small group sessions. Sessions are 60 minutes in length and include groundwork and mounted activities. Each session includes catching, grooming, tacking, leading, and riding the horse; these activities are modified as necessary to meet the needs of the individual riders.

In our hippotherapy program, most patients ride once per week in private sessions that last 45 minutes.

In therapeutic riding, participants can enroll at any time and can ride until their personal goals have been met. Some participants ride year round with us, and some ride only seasonally.

In hippotherapy, patients can enroll at any time but 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 supports 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 all of Promise Ranch’s therapists.


What are the benefits of riding and working with horses?

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. Explore specific benefits under the Programs tab on the website.


When are sessions given?

Sessions are offered six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Check out the News & 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 are assessed during an interview ride to ensure riding is a beneficial activity for them.

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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