Located on a beautiful 22 acre lot in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley, Healing Strides of Virginia sits between the Blue Ridge Mountains in the east and the Appalachian Plateau to the west. Healing Strides was established in 1991, and since then they have been dedicated to providing equine assisted activities and therapies in a safe and supportive environment.
They serve both children and adults in the Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas. With a variety of services ranging from Para Equestrian Dressage to Veterans Programs to Hippotherapy, their services and resources have few limitations. The largest populations in their programs are veterans, children in the foster care system, at-risk youth, and adults with PTSD. They specialize in the needs of people with multiple diagnoses.
One of the programs that helps people with multiple diagnoses is Hippotherapy. Unlike recreational therapeutic riding, in Hippotherapy, no riding skills are taught. Rather, the horse’s movement is used as a tool to help in physical, speech, and occupational therapies.
Hippotherapy is what Ellie’s physical therapist recommended when she was diagnosed with a rare condition known as Cerebellar Hypoplasia, just after turning 1 year old. The physical therapist recommended the program at Healing Strides.
When Ellie first started at Healing Strides, she didn’t enjoy it at all. However, very quickly there were huge improvements. Ellie could get herself to a standing position and maintain her balance on her own. She also started using utensils and her speech improved immensely.
Ellie is now three, and after going through multiple Hippotherapy sessions, her parents say, “without a doubt, it’s the best therapy she does on a weekly basis. It hasn’t just improved her core area and speech, but has given her more independence and confidence that she wouldn’t otherwise have at this point. She now loves going to Hippotherapy each week and enjoys riding these beautiful, caring horses that have now become her friends.”
Healing Strides works with multiple universities, such as Virginia Tech and Jefferson College, to help children like Ellie. As the largest serving Therapeutic Horsemanship organization in Virginia, they are able to reach thousands of people every year.
In 2018 alone, Healing Strides provided approximately 5,000 lessons, averaging 175 participants a week and over 12,000 volunteer hours. It’s no wonder Healing Strides is one of only 7 accredited Centers of Excellence in the country.
Learn more about this organization by visiting their website below. They are open year-round and anyone is free to visit their beautiful facility.
How to Contact This Farm:
672 Naff Road
Boones Mill, VA 24065