Healing Strides of Virginia, a leader in southwest Virginia for Equine Assisted Services, is celebrating its 30-year anniversary.
In 1991, a group of passionate individuals recognized the need for an adaptive approach to healing in the region. The founders understood that horses are amazing creatures and have the power to inspire hope in those people challenged with physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities. The foundational program, Therapeutic Riding, was primarily focused on helping children with disabilities. Healing Strides, formerly known as Roanoke Valley Therapeutic Riding Program, Inc., offered services in the paddocks of generous friends.
In 2001, dedicated donors and loyal partners of the organization purchased 22 acres of land in Boones Mill, Virginia, establishing a permanent home for Healing Strides of Virginia. Over the past 30 years, significant growth has taken place on the property, including the construction of indoor/outdoor arenas, Hannah’s House of Hope, corporate offices, a Mental Health, Learning and Coaching office and arena space, and a dedicated classroom for ongoing educational training. Programs have grown to include services for adults, specifically Veterans and Military service members.
Healing Strides’ mission is to promote wellness for people with personal challenges who may benefit from Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies in a safe and supportive environment. The program welcomes anyone who walks through its gate; as they are, where they are, and how they are. The staff are advocates for each of their participants and clients and the trainers, volunteers, and horses.
Healing Strides CEO Carol Young remarked, “This year is a milestone for us. It’s hard to imagine how far we have come, starting with helping a handful of children to serving over 300 individuals. The demand for our services continues to grow. Research for Equine Assisted Services demonstrates not only what we believe to be true, that horses inspire hope, but the fact that studies now prove it is an effective form of healing. Throughout 2021, we will reflect on our beginnings, our achievements, and our future plans. We hope you will join us in our celebrations of this important milestone by attending one of our hosted tours of the property, small group social gatherings, and a drive-through horse safari.”
To learn more about Healing Strides and the programs offered, visit healingstridesofva.com.