Equine Assisted Learning/Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Program for youth and young adults on the autism spectrumDSC_5991.resized

Kevin at Blended Spirits Ranch

 What is Equine Assisted Learning?

Human-horse interaction can facilitate personal exploration of feelings, powers of intuition, and understanding of  self, nature, relationships and communication. Furthermore, horses can help develop emotional growth, sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem, knowledge and well being, as well as improve the quality of life for people. Equine Assisted Learning provides opportunities to enhance self-awareness and re-pattern maladaptive behaviors, feelings, and attitudes. The focus of EAL is not riding or horsemanship. In fact 90% of EAL takes place purely on the ground.  Objectives of equine assisted learning include arranging activities involving horses, which will require the individual to develop and apply certain skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication, assertiveness, problem-solving, leadership, creative thinking, responsibility, confidence, teamwork relationships, and attitude.

Goals for individuals are typically focused on development of social skills, group participation, speech and language enhancement, organizing abilities, problem solving, resolution of inner conflicts, and improvement in levels of self-esteem.  The person-horse bond can develop the following qualities:  mutual trust, respect, affection, empathy, unconditional acceptance, confidence, personal success, responsibility, assertiveness, communication skills, and self-control.

   -Taken from “International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology”

There are two (2) opportunities currently in our area for Equine Assisted Learning
for individuals on the autism spectrum with
Blended Spirits Ranch and Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center (TREC).

DSC_6227.resizedWho is Blended Spirits Ranch?
Blended Spirits Ranch (BSR) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization providing care to children and adults within Northwestern Pennsylvania.  Their mission is to provide a safe and structured environment for using equine therapy to help individuals feel empowered and build self-esteem.  Individuals are healed through equine assisted activities, while the ranch itself provides a haven for neglected horses.

Blended Spirits has developed a structured eight week program that utilizes specifically trained horses, facilitatDSC_6219.resizedors, teachers and mentors.  Using natural horsemanship skills, clients participating in the program are taught how to care for, communicate with, and ride horses.  As clients learn and develop these skills, their interactions are monitored by a trained mentor whose job is to help facilitate and guide the process.

Goal and Objectives

The overall goal of this pilot program is to manifest a positive impact in the lives of youth on the autism spectrum who will benefit mentally, emotionally, and physically from the proven methodology of Equine Assisted Learning.

5 Main Objectives:

  1. build self-esteem and confidence
  2. develop self-awareness, self-control, and appropriate boundaries
  3. provide companionship, partnership, unconditional love, and acceptance
  4. offer good physical exercise outdoor, improving balance and coordination
  5. teach responsibility, empathy, and a sense of caring for others


The program will be evaluated using an autism assessment test prior to going through the program at BSR, and after having completed the BSR Program. The evaluation tool will be:  Social Responsiveness ScaleTM , Second Edition (SRSTM-2)  The test scoring and results will be compiled by Dr. Walter Schamber, PhD.

For more information or to sign up for the 8 week program, please contact Sandy Long at (814) 449-5657 or email:  sandy@blendedspiritsranch.org

he tuition is $320 per person for the 8-week session.  Autism Society NWPA is sponsoring 50% of the tuition. Participants will be responsible for $160 per person for the 8-week session, which is due with registration.

WHERE: Blended Spirits Ranch | 7401 McCray Rd Fairview

Blended Spirits has recently built a beautiful new HEATED riding arena

REGISTRATION:  Call (814) 449-5657 or  Email:  sandy@blendedspiritsranch.org

Who is Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center?

The Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center is an outgrowth of Therapeutic Riding of Erie County (TREC), a non-profit organization that has been committed to equine-assisted recreational therapy since 1981.  The Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center is located in Fairview, PA at a first class facility designed to create a friendly environment for learning and improving the physical, emotional and social well being of our clients.

We offer small classes designed for personalized attention, grouping students by skill level and age wherever possible.  We also offer advanced classes and private lessons.

Our goal is simple: create an environment and opportunity for the client to enjoy themselves while benefiting from the therapy provided through equine-assisted activities.

Therapeutic Riding Equestrian Center (TREC) offers new classes……

Riding Classes for Grades 1-8

Equine-therapy riding classes for young people on the Autism Spectrum (Grades 1 -8) which will feature activities based on the seven essential learning domains of the Framework for Independent Living curriculum. The program will continue with three additional semesters ending in November. Classes will be monitored and a progress report for each student will be provided at the end of the semester. Cost of each seven-week semester is $200.  Scholarships provided by the Autism Society NWPA are available for qualified families. For more information, please email bdrositer@trecerie.org or call Betty Rositer at 814 323-2156.

Riding Classes for High School Students and Young Adults

Beginning in April, TREC will be offering an exciting new concept in equine-based therapy. Rock-On, a new class for high school students and young adults on the Autism Spectrum will begin with the seven-week Spring semester starting the week of April 4.  Class activities will be based on the Framework for Independent Living curriculum with an emphasis on class participation and social interaction in a fun and energetic environment. The class will continue for the summer and fall semesters. Each seven week session will cost $200 with Autism Society NWPA scholarships available to qualified families. For more information, please email bdrositer@trecerie.org or call Betty Rositer at 814 323-2156.