Our Philosophy

At Healing Strides, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on our community. Our work has shown that we can instill resilience and transform lives. Our team of professionals will guide you through a transformative journey that will help you achieve personal growth. Our unique approach is grounded in the connection between our clients and our horses, who play a central role in every session. Our horses are deliberately unhindered and never ridden, allowing them to interact with the client in their own way. With the support of our skilled facilitators, clients are encouraged to reflect, project, and make deep connections, fostering a safe space for healing to occur over time.

Mental Health Education and Coaching

Equine Assisted Coaching and Learning

Finding Your Stride

The Finding Your Stride Program is an 8-week equine-assisted service program that aims to support children and adolescents ages 6-17 who are living with personal challenges, which may include physical, emotional, and cognitive deficits or disabilities. This program offers participants the chance to acquire and refine supportive skills, enabling them to work towards achieving developmental milestones they may have missed.

Mental Health Horsemanship

This is a mounted and/or unmounted program that is focused around building life skills and resiliency. It is facilitated by a licensed therapist and a PATH Intl’ Certified Riding Instructor.

Parenting from the Barn

This is an eight-week, ground-based Coaching Parenting Course. Each week, participants engage in a self-assessment and acquire targeted parenting skills, including setting boundaries, addressing age-appropriate behaviors, and ensuring effective communication with children. Our program has yielded significant success, empowering parents to build stronger connections with their children, co-parent, and/or partner.

Power Tools for Living

The Power Tools for Living curriculum is structured to address specific life skills. Power Tools for Living is an educational program designed to teach seven core emotional health skills that are essential for success at all ages and in all relationships, school, family, work, and community. This preventative emotional health program teaches Respect, Responsibility, Relationship Skills, Boundaries, Empathy, and Choices/Consequences.

Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapy is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals. These services are designed to restore, remediate, and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness, as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in everyday life situations. This service is provided by a nationally credentialed Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).

Veterans Group

This is focused on an innovative personal growth and well-being program that incorporates horses, the program aims to address symptoms related to post-traumatic stress, depression, and the challenges of transitioning to civilian life. This program follows the ARCH model.

Equine Assisted Therapy

Family Therapy

Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) is an evidence-based practice that treats externalizing (substance use, acting out, truancy) and internalizing (depression, anxiety) symptoms in youth aged 6-18 years while restructuring problematic family interactions. Through focused interventions and skill building strategies, BSFT provides families with the tools to overcome individual and family risk factors. The approach is based on the assumption that family-based interactions strongly influence how children behave, and that targeting and improving maladaptive family interactions reduces the likelihood of symptomatic behavior.


A licensed mental health professional and Equine Specialist collaborate to provide experiential treatment that aims to help an individual identify and change challenging or debilitating emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Contact us at (540)334-5825 or email us at MHadmin@healingstridesofva.org

The Team Approach

All members of our teams have specialized training and credentialing to provide the services we are providing for our clients.  These credentials set us apart from other equine programs.   

The Horse(s):

Horses have many characteristics which lend them to be effective agents of change, including honesty, awareness, and the ability to use nonverbal communication. The role of the horses in any session is to be themselves.

The Equine Specialist (ES):

The ES chooses the horses to be used in sessions, works with the Mental Health Professional to structure sessions, is aware of safety and welfare of client(s), horse(s), and other team members, and makes observations of horse(s) behaviors- Helping develop the client’s story, with the leadership of the MH or Coach, for we know that when our story changes we change. Part of this may be bringing potential metaphors to the forefront.

The Mental Health Professional (MH)
or Coach:

The MH/Coach is responsible for treatment planning, documentation of clients, and ensuring ethical practice. The MH/Coach builds on the ES’s horse observations, bringing in the metaphoric and therapeutic/learning relevance of the session. Helping the client process their story and empowering change in them to grow and become confident in who they are. Helping bring awareness to the client’s goals and lending hope to each person who comes here. The MH is different from the Coach based on the goals that need to be reached.  We use a Coaching framework for Equine Assisted Learning and a psychotherapy framework for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

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