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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, we now have 22 wonderful therapy horses, 14 PATH, Intl. certified instructors, 10 licensed occupational physical and mental health therapists, and over 150 participants. We also offer services in Adaptive Riding (formerly know as Therapeutic Riding), Therapy Services – specializing Hippotherapy, Equine Services for Veterans, Adaptive Carriage Driving, Day Camps, Life Skills Training and Special Olympics. HETRA is a non-profit 501c3 organization and is currently the only PATH, Intl. Premier Accredited center in Nebraska!

HETRA serves a variety of participants including children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head or spinal cord injuries, visual impairment, autism, developmental delays, and strokes. 

For the last several years, HETRA volunteers have donated over 24,000 volunteer hours per year.  Without our dedicated volunteers, we could not provide services to over 150 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 the volunteers in the arena, but the volunteers who are working outside the arena play a great role also.  Instructors rely on individuals to groom and tack the horses, care for the barn, stalls, tack, and toys.   Individuals of 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.