The MISSION of the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding (NMCTR) is to enrich and expand the lives of children, youth, and adults with special needs through equine-assisted activities and therapies.
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NMCTR is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization sustained by grants, donations, fundraising events, and, in a small part, income from lessons. Many of our students have been part of our program since its inception. NMCTR is member of PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). PATH is the recognized governing body that oversees member therapeutic riding programs and certifies instructors and facilities. All of NMCTR’s instructors are PATH certified, and adhere to PATH guidelines and standards for therapeutic riding programs. PATH strives to “provide a culture of safety, understanding and ethical treatment of humans and horses engaged in equine-assisted activities and therapies” (from PATH Core Values).
NMCTR holds several eight-week sessions yearly, as well as a week-long summer camp, with individual and/or group riding lessons for persons with special needs. We also have a program for seniors. Students/riders learn aspects of horse care, including “tacking up” (saddling and bridling) and riding skills. Each rider is encouraged to participate fully in these activities to the best of their ability. New and returning riders are evaluated to assess progress, ongoing goals, and achievements.
Therapeutic riding has been proven to contribute positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social well being of individuals with special needs. Just experiencing the rhythmic movement of the horse can be therapeutic; riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength.
The fact that an individual is living with a disability does not preclude him/her from enjoying all that riding and a relationship with a horse has to offer. “The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and freedom” (Sharon Ralls Lemon).
The Board, Staff, and Volunteers at NMCTR are all dedicated to our program motto, “Changing Lives, One Stride at a Time”.
The New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding was founded in 2010 by Don Miller, Jeannie Creed and Michael Rawn to provide equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals in our community living with the challenges of special needs. NMCTR is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization sustained by grants, donations, fundraising events, and, in a small part, income from lessons. Many of our students have been part of our program since its inception.
With the desire and vision to create a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified therapeutic riding center, Don and Michael looked for existing centers to partner with and expand upon and discovered Rancho Corazon Riders (RCR) that was being led by Jeannie Creed.
Don, Jeannie and Michael met and felt it was worth consolidating their skills and desires in hopes of creating a first class therapeutic riding center to serve the significant needs of Santa Fe County. The three partnered and founded New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding. Michael became the President of the NMCTR, handling grants, and community partnerships (including Peace Corps volunteers); Don became the Vice President of the Board, handling fundraising, client outreach, obtaining nonprofit status and expanding the volunteer base; Jeannie was the Program Director, creating riding programs, managing the herd, expanding the Board and client base.
Eventually, with Michael returning to his professorship at St John’s College and Jeannie pursuing other interests, Don Miller continued as the central force of NMCTR until his death in 2020. NMCTR is where we are today largely due to the passion and dedication of Don Miller and NMCTR Program Director, Ashley Fischer – and the organization will forever remember and be grateful for their efforts.