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Adaptive Riding (formerly known as Therapeutic Riding)

Adaptive riding is an equine-assisted activity for the purpose of contributing positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs.  Adaptive riding provides benefits in the areas of health, education, sport and recreation & leisure. Adaptive Riding participants are learning to control the horse using such skills as reining and use of aids. All Adaptive Riding sessions are conducted by a PATH, Intl. certified instructor and periodically reassessed by a licensed therapist. Adaptive riding sessions are conducted in a group setting with 2 to 3 riders riding at a time. All riders are accompanied by a leader and two sidewalkers if needed. Some participants progress to the point that they are able to ride independently.


Therapy Services

Our Therapy Services are conducted by an Occupational, Physical or Speech Therapist (OT, PT, ST).  HETRA’s Therapists specialize in Hippotherapy and have been specially trained to use the movement of the horse to facilitate improvements in their client/patient. It does not teach the client how to ride the horse. Therapists use traditional techniques such as NDT (neurodevelopmental treatment) and SI (sensory integration) along with the movement of the horse as part of their treatment strategy. All goals are therapy directed such as improving balance, coordination, posture, fine motor control, articulation and increasing cognitive skills.

Carriage Driving

Adaptive Carriage Driving

Carriage Driving is a fast growing sport. HETRA offers participants that do not wish to be or cannot be mounted on a horse the rewards of interaction and control of a horse while driving from a carriage seat. Using a horse and carriage gives participants an alternative or an addition to riding, opening up the world of horses to those who may be unable to ride due to weight, balance, fatigue, fear of heights, the inability to sit astride, or other issues. Adaptive Driving is all about imparting knowledge of safety, horses, harnessing, and driving skills to children and adults using teamwork. All Adaptive Driving sessions are conducted by a PATH, Intl. certified Driving Instructor and is accompanied by an able bodied whip. It takes 3 to 5 volunteers to make one driving turn out!


Equine Services for Veterans

Equine Services For Veterans

HETRA started our Veteran program in September of 2010.  Veterans of any age and type of disability are encouraged to explore participation in this program (specific precautions and contraindications to horseback riding will be addressed through a thorough evaluation by an occupational therapist to determine eligibility).  Our Veteran program is designed to evaluate and provide opportunities for improvement physically, mentally and socially for participants.  Veterans will participate in 45 minute sessions conducted by the HETRA team.  The HETRA team consists of Veteran Volunteers (Horse leaders and sidewalkers to assist the participant), PATH, Intl. Certified Riding Instructors, Occupational Therapists, and a Mental Health Therapist.

Click Here to learn more about the Equine Services for Veterans Program

Click to View A Video about our Veterans Services

Click here to download the Equine Services for Veterans Brochure

lifeskills 2
life skills tack shack

Life Skills Training

Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy, HETRA has long recognized the necessity for Life Skills services for individuals with disabilities and is proud to offer a year-round comprehensive Life Skills Training Program.  Parents, caregivers and service providers in our community are searching for life skills and vocational training programs that offer new approaches to development and education.  Our agricultural and equine-based campus provides participants a hands-on learning experience where development takes place through an expanse of activity found in our unique agricultural barn environment.  

Program basics include cleaning and maintenance of riding helmets, horse tack, session toys, equipment. Participants also assist with facility and grounds maintenance and stall cleaning. Advanced skill development in the areas of customer service, retail sales, and marketing also take place through HETRA’s resale store, The Tack Shack. Participants are also exposed to an intensive equine educational portion which includes grooming and tacking horses allowing them to actively assist with riding sessions.  All activities are completed within a structured and self-supported environment.  Please contact us for more information about the Life Skills Training Program –  (402) 359-8830 or click here to fill out this brief questionnaire and someone will reach out to you.  


Public Riding Lessons

HETRA also offers English and Western riding lessons to the general public. These lessons are very popular with our volunteers and the families of our participants. 

Additional Services

Group tours of the barn
Speakers for events or meetings
College internships
Service learning hours
For more information on any of these services please contact us at (402) 359-8830.

HETRA’s Non-Discrimination Policy: HETRA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, leave status, veteran status, medical condition genetic information, age, disability, marital status, AIDS/HIV status or any other characteristic protected by applicable local, state, or federal law.