Exceptional Equestrians started out as a small program in Charla and Tim Shurtleff’s backyard. Since its humble beginnings in 1991, this organization has grown and expanded to become the premier center it is today. Their beautiful facility in Washington, Missouri includes 30 acres of pasture, making it a great place for trail rides. They also have two indoor riding areas fully heated and equipped with dust-free footing for the comfort of the riders.
Since 1994, after moving to their present location in the city of Washington, EEMV has been accredited with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. EEMV was also one of the original programs to be awarded Premier Accredited Status, marking the history of service and excellence that EEMV has constantly shown in its 28 years of operation.
The programs at EEMV operate within a semester system. There are four semesters each year, and riders participate in weekly 30 to 60 minute sessions. Each session is targeted to the specific needs of the client. Everyone that comes to EEMV is different, so every person has a carefully designed lesson plan focused on their goals and objectives.
Lindsay Moore, who has been with EEMV since 2004, says that “some clients see dramatic changes, such as walking for the first time, learning to sit up independently, and speaking for the first time. Others have smaller, but no less important, improvements. Learning to hold the reins in two hands can lead to the ability to feed yourself or being able to work a job at the local Sheltered Workshop.”
These improvements are what makes volunteering at EEMV so rewarding. One volunteer said, “I so look forward going to the barn, because it makes me feel as good as it does the riders.” Volunteers provide emotional and physical support to the riders during the programs, help groom and tack the horses preparatory to the lessons, and lead the horses in the programs.
EEMV is home to thirteen wonderful horses, each carefully selected for their temperament and ability to handle the movement and behavior of the clients. Among the favorite horses at EEMV are Panda, a ten-year-old miniature horse that loves to be petted and brushed by everyone, and Tercio, an 18-year-old Andalusian who was bred in Spain.
One success that this organization has taken part in has been participating in multiple Special Olympics shows. Lindsay says that this “has been an incredible opportunity for our clients to go out and show off all the skills that they've worked so hard on over the years.” EEMV has three more special Olympic shows scheduled for this year.
Learn more about EEMVs programs or sign up to be a volunteer today using the website below.
How to Contact This Farm:
785 Yellow Finch Lane
Washington, MO 63090