Happy Trails Riding Academy


Visit Us: 2773 E. Oakdale Ave. (Ave. 256), Tulare, CA 93274
Mail Us: P.O. Box 572, Visalia, CA 93279
Call Us: (559) 688-8685 or EMAIL US 

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Our Programs

Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT) use the horse's dynamic movement to improve trunk mobility and strength which in turn, affects limb function. The horse provides a consistent and rhythmic movement pattern that facilitates the treatment goals, which are crucial to the student's success. In Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) classes, the therapist (occupational or physical), the volunteers, the horse, and the rider all form the therapy team. Each member of the team plays a unique role to ensure the rider receives the best and most effective treatment.

Each of our programs is taught by a PATH certified instructor. A potential rider is evaluated and placed in one of our programs based on the individual needs of the rider.

Our riders range in age from 3 to 50+ with the majority (85%) under the age of eighteen. Our riders are challenged by a variety of disabilities including ADHD, developmental delay, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, fetal alcohol affects and various psychosocial challenges.

Current Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) include: Therapeutic Horsemanship (TH), Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT), Interactive Vaulting (IV), Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy/Learning (EFP/L), and Equine Serivces for Heroes.

Therapeutic Horsemanship (TH) group classes consist of 2 - 6 participants in which English and Western Horsemanship skills are the focus. Therapeutic Horsemanship teaches a person with a disability how to ride a horse. However, the environment of the horse can provide more than just riding skills, it provides an atmosphere to teach companionship, responsibility, leadership, vocational, educational skills as a well as offer competition venues. Riding a horse provides a unique and often profound recreational or leisure activity for many people.

Equine Assisted Therapy (E.A.T.) is a solo-participant class utilizing the horse as a therapeutic modality facilitating normal human posture and movement under the direction of a Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapist. E.A.T. uses activities on the horse that are meaningful to the clients. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in therapeutic riding), but rather a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can then be generalized to a wide range of daily activities. Class is available on a limited basis to 3-8 year olds.

Eliza Bower on Emma

Interactive Vaulting (IV) is gymnastics and ballet on the back of a moving horse during which teamwork is critical as there or often two to five riders participating at one time. Interactive Vaulting is a modification of traditional vaulting. The basic vaulting positions are taught, as are exercises, but many other aspects are added and subtracted depending on the needs of the individual vaulters. The appeal of a therapeutic vaulting class is that it provides an environment where the vaulter can progress at his/her own speed while still being part of a group working together. Instead of being competitive the class is designed to encourage teamwork, to discover and practice new skills and to have fun.

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy/Learning (EFP/L) is a transformative therapy that involves the relationship between a therapist, a client and an equine. It is a metaphorical, hands-on mental health treatment that is based on the dynamic relationship with an animal.

Equine Services for Heroes is our newest program addition. Happy Trails works closely with the Wounded Warrior Project to provide therapeutic horsemanship to warriors who are dealing with everything from physical injuries to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therapeutic horsemanship has been proven to help warriors strengthen physically, mentally, and emotionally in a positive and welcoming environment.

Carriage or Cart Driving gives participants a riding alternative, opening up the world of horses to those who may be unable to ride due to weight, balance, fatigue, allergies, asthma, fear of heights, the inability to sit astride, or other issues. It also provides the student with a unique movement experience. Therapeutic Driving is about imparting knowledge of safety, horses, harnessing, and driving skills to children and adults using teamwork.

Program Costs

Cost per rider - $360.00 per 12-week session for Therapeutic Horsemanship group riding lessons, Interactive Vaulting, and Driving and $420.00 per 12-week session for Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT).