HSVA Horsemanship Club!

The HSVA Horsemanship  Club is to develop character, leadership, confidence and a sense of community in youth through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports.

For more information please call 540-334-5825.

Veterans Program

Our Veterans Program is open to all Veterans of any age and their families. Our goal is to serve those who have served us and our country so willingly.

Our program has been recognized and inducted into the First Lady of Virginia’s Opportunities Hall of Fame, for the year 2011.

We have veterans of all ages and branches of service at Healing Strides. You can come be a part of our team here. Healing Strides accepts you where you are, as you are! Our services are offered to our veterans at no charge to them, as funding allows.

Services offered for our veterans and their families:
• Riding,
• Para Equestrian Dressage initiative (click here for more),
• horsemanship 101,
• drill team,
• western trail lessons,
• volunteer opportunities,
• and mental health, learning, and coaching for
- PTSD, Trauma
- Marriage and Family
- Anger Management
- Parenting
- And More

Call for more information : 540-334-5825
Click here for more on Mental Health Services

If you know of a veteran or the family of a veteran who may benefit from these services please contact us!

Para-Equestrian Dressage

What is Para-Equestrian Sport?

Para refers to parallel to able-bodied sports, designed for the independent rider/driver with permanent, physical, and visual disabilities seeking a competitive track. Athletes may pursue a national or international sport classification which allows them to compete at recognized national and international horse shows in Para-Equestrian dressage or Para-Equestrian driving.

Both sports are governed by USEF (national) and FEI (International) and are conducted in a similar fashion to their conventional counterpart (dressage and combined driving), but with riders divided into different competition sport classes/grades based on their functional abilities. Para-Equestrian dressage is the only equestrian discipline recognized at the Paralympics.

The Paralympic Equestrian Sport Initiative for Veterans is a national initiative designed to support the growth and participation of eligible veterans with disabilities in Para-Equestrian sports (specifically Para-Dressage and Para-Driving). This initiative is coordinated by Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, and is funded by a Federal Adaptive Sports Grant under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation and PATH Int’l,  the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.

Healing Strides of VA is a participating USEF/USPEA International Para-Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE) and is an approved center offering clinics, outreach, and ongoing education to emerging athletes and coaches to develop the sport pipeline.

We do not offer driving at this time.

Pipeline Development Goals Include: 

  • Utilizing gold-medal coaching experts to provide Para-Dressage and Para-Driving clinics and symposia at COEs and other select national locations as training, sport classification, and awareness-building opportunities.
  • Providing a National Para-Equestrian Coach Development Program to enhance coaching support of eligible veterans.
  • Creating a strong foundation of Para-Equestrian education through online workshops/webinars.
  • Encouraging Para-Eligible veterans to participate with the VA’s Monthly Assistance Allowance Program to fund training and competition.
  • Coordinating with veteran-oriented competitions and games to promote inclusion of Para-Equestrian sports.

Forever Young Seniors Riding Club


This program is designed for the Forever Young at heart. We designed this for people who have always dreamt of riding or rode when they were young and want to get back in the saddle. It begins with 6 weeks of ground based work to build a relationship with your horse then graduates to mounted work as the participant feels comfortable. This program is a great way to stay physically active and mentally alert. Other benefits are a few social opportunities for the Club members throughout the year.

EAGALA & Mental Health Support program

What is the EAGALA model?

Healing Strides chooses to use the Eagala model as their primary model for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP).
The
Eagala Model provides a standard and structure for providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning sessions. Practicing within a model establishes a foundation of key values and beliefs, and provides a basis of good practice and professionalism. The Eagala Model provides a framework of practice, but within that framework, there are infinite opportunities for creativity and adaptability to various therapeutic and facilitating styles.

The HSVA Eagala Team

The Horse: 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 an Eagala 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, keeps the equine log to document horse behaviors in sessions, stays aware of safety and welfare of clients, horses, and team, and makes observations of horse SPUD’s (an Eagala-developed observation framework taught in the certification training program) which can bring potential metaphors.

The Mental Health Professional (MH): The MH is responsible for treatment planning, documentation of clients, and ensuring ethical practice. The MH builds on the ES’s horse observations, bringing in the metaphoric and therapeutic/learning relevance of the session.

Eagala and Mental Health Services:

  • Individuals/ Families
  • Groups
  • Leadership/ Team Building
  • PTSD
  • Grief and Loss
  • Sexuall Assult Awareness Pervention Intervention- Title 9
  • Veterans
  • Corporate Training
  • At-Risk Youth/ Bullying
  • Internships
  • CEU’s
  • And more, please contact us

Mental Health, Learning, and Coaching

Healing Strides offers Mental Health, Learning, and Coaching opportunities to those who are in need of personal support. Our models take place on the ground, rather than on horseback, with clients telling their story through interactions with the horse. Fostering close communication that is helpful for working through complex emotions, trauma, and abuse. Populations that we serve include individuals, families, military, first responders, and groups.

Our effective, compassionate work with this community has proven to change lives and build stronger individuals that have shown resiliency. Come and experience growth and enhanced well-being, with our professionals. When inside the session area, all work is done on the ground with the horses front and center, deliberately unhindered and never ridden, allowing them to interact with the client as they wish. This creates the space for the client, with the support of the professional facilitators, to reflect, project, and make deep connections, allowing healing to take place over time.

The Eagala Model is the Equine Assisted Model that Healing Strides has chosen to use for our ground based practice. At the Foundation of The Eagala Model is a distinctive experience framework, designed to provide clients the latitude to discover, learn, and grow from the horse-human relationship. Encouraging and motivating clients to reach their therapy goals.

This model is a team approach that includes a licensed, credentialed Mental Health Professional, a qualified, Certified Equine Specialist, and trained horses working together with the client.

College Teams

Healing Strides hosts the Ferrum College Equestrian Team and the Roanoke College Team.  These are collegiate competitive teams. The athletes are students from either of the above colleges. The colleges offer both ISHA and IDA  competitive levels.

English and Western Riding

Levels of equestrian riding- beginners to advanced riders. Multiple disciplines- dressage, hunter jumpers, pleasure, and  western trail.

RISE- Reaching Independence through Support and Education

RISE is a program developed to help at-risk students secure their high school diploma or GED  and prepare them to be successful adults in the community. We are committed to supporting each student through our personalized therapeutic programs; riding, horsemanship, mentoring, mental health, learning, and coaching, until they reach their own personal goals.   The horse is the motivator to help each student learn and be dedicated to success.  

Our Goals:

  • Reach students who are struggling in the typical educational setting due to anxiety, frustration, trauma, leaning disabilities, or behavior issues
  • Offer educational and mental health support to encourage growth and learning in a safe environment
  • Build student confidence and resiliency so they are ready to conquer issues that may arise in the future
  • Increase the student’s standardized test scores and ultimately graduation rates

Field Trips

Healing Strides offers Field Trips in different ways. Your group can come to our facility to have a day of horse interaction that can include riding, crafts, and a hike in the woods.  

Healing Strides can bring a horse or two to your facility to educate those attending about the horses; some horse interaction can be made possible. Some of our horses are willing to come inside your facility, if appropriate. We can design the field trip to meet your goals.

We also can host birthday parties for all ages! These can include a ride for the birthday person. All forms must be submitted prior to the day of the Field Trip. Please call for more information.

Mentoring- PATH Int'l Instructors and Eagala Model Teams or Team Members

Healing Strides will mentor you to prepare you for the Registered or Advanced PATH Int’l Instructor Certification.  This is an intensive program that is specific to your personal skill level.  You will have an evaluation of your knowledge with a Certified Mentor to decide where you should start the process.  This is a 6 month to 2 year program based on the evaluation. PATH International 

Healing Strides will mentor you to learn and give you practice opportunities for the Eagala Model for both the Mental Health Professional and the Equine Specialist.   You can come here prior to your certification or to practice the model after you have been to a training.  
Eagala

Internships

Healing Strides offers internships from High School to PhD levels.  We work with numerous colleges and universities to allow the opportunity to learn first-hand about the Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies Industry, as well as the business side of how a non-profit is organized and managed.  Call more information:  540-334-5825

Hippotherapy- Therapy Utilizing Equine Movement

At this time, Healing Strides of VA is contracted with Carilion Children’s Pediatric Therapy Department. Physical, Occupational, and Speech Pathologists from Carilion Children’s Pediatric Therapy Department use our horses as a tool as part of an integrated and individualized treatment plan for their patients.

The difference between Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy is that Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding is recreational, a riding skill is being taught. Hippotherapy is medical therapy where no riding skill is being taught but the horse is used as a tool to assist the patient in meeting his or her functional therapy goals.

For more information and how to participate, please click below.


Carilion Clinic

Horse Welfare and Rehab in Memory of Avery

Healing Strides of Virginia had a vision several years ago to help horses that needed care and purpose.  Over the last several years we have been able to work with 20 plus horses, retraining, rehabilitating, and re-homing many of them.  The idea of finding horses that are on their way to a bad situation allows us to receive custody of them before they find themselves in dire situations. We call this pre-rescue: taking action prior to having to take drastic intervention.

With that being said we have developed a relationship with the Virginia Tech Veterinarian Hospital for referrals of equines that would otherwise have to be humanely euthanized, because their rehabilitation is long term (meaning up to and over year).  

Healing Strides of VA always has a need to purchase the needed medical supplies for the care and welfare of these horses.  Our staff is professional, dedicated, and well-trained for the purpose of  saving as many horses as we have funding to save.

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