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About Us

History of HETRA


Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy was started in 1989 by Steve and Janet Henthorn of Omaha, Nebraska.  The program started with one participant, one horse, and three volunteers.  We have grown significantly over the years.  HETRA now has 19 wonderful therapy horses, 21 PATH, Intl. certified instructors, and over 115 participants.  We also offer services in Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy, Equine Services for Veterans, and Therapeutic Carriage Driving.  HETRA is a non-profit 501c3 organization and is currently the only PATH Premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding Center in Nebraska!

HETRA serves a variety of participants including children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular distrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head or spinal cord injuries, visual impairment, autism, development delays and strokes.  In 2014, HETRA served 192 unique participants (both children and adults) per week and our goal is continue to expand the program this year.

For the last several years, HETRA volunteers have donated over 18,000 volunteer hours per year.  Without our dedicated volunteers, we could not provide services to over 115 participants each week.  HETRA’s sidewalkers find their job very rewarding in many ways.  Not only are they able to work hands on with the HETRA participants, but they also receive a physical workout walking in the arena footing during the therapy sessions.  Sessions depend on volunteers in the arena, but also volunteers who work outside of the arena play a great role as well.  Instructors rely on individuals to groom and tack horses, care for the barn, stalls, tack, and toys.  Individuals on all ability levels have a job that is instrumental to making a session run smoothly.

HETRA looks back on a history of growth and achieving many amazing goals.  We look forward to our future with great hope and excitement for what is to come.