Central Kentucky Riding for Hope

Central Kentucky Riding for Hope

Here’s something you don’t see every day – two Thoroughbreds under Western saddle maneuvering through the equine therapy center’s obstacle course at the Kentucky Horse Park. Credit: Mark Mahan


Services: Sanctuary, Equine-Assisted

Location: Lexington, KY

Founded: 1981

Website: CKRH.org

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Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 8

Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, based at the Kentucky Horse Park, is dedicated to enriching the community by improving the quality of life and health of individuals with special needs through therapeutic activities with the horse.

CKRH offers services in the following areas: Physical/cognitive/developmental disabilities: A program for individuals challenged by mild to severe medical conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, or stroke. Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship, CKRH’s flagship service, includes mounted activities designed to improve fine/gross motor skills, balance, strength, coordination, response to verbal commands, and elementary problem solving. Specialty programs include HorseAbililty summer programming for special-needs youth, and Horse Tales, a memory-recall program for seniors with dementia.

Mental health: A program for individuals with emotional, social, or behavioral challenges. Mounted and unmounted group activities are designed to improve emotional awareness and regulation, tolerance for stress, decision-making skills, and connection with others. Specialty programs include Operation Remount (for veterans and military service members with combat injuries or resiliency issues such as PTSD), a
partnership with the Kentucky National Guard; I RIDE (for youths living in at-risk households), a partnership with child-welfare organizations and the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice; and EASTT (for survivors of sexual trauma), a partnership with Ampersand Resource Center.

Learning Disabilities: A program for individuals with academic or vocational challenges. Unmounted activities are designed to improve basic educational elements (i.e., reading, spelling, math) and tangential skills, such as organizing, sequencing, and memory retention. Specialty programs include STABLES, a year-round alternate educational program of the Fayette County Public Schools for approximately 60 students in grades 7-12, and Vocational Training, for individuals with mild disabilities who are developing
employment skills in horsemanship or facilities/farm maintenance.

CKRH serves more than 1,100 participants annually through the efforts of 300-plus volunteers and 29 equine therapists.