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Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Human Services

Mission: To improve the quality of life both physically and emotionally of adults and children with disabilities through equine assisted actvities

Programs: Hetra is recognized as a premier accredited center (pac) by the professional association of therapeutic horsemanship international (path, int'l). Pac status is granted to centers demonstrating excellence in providing quality equine-assisted activities and have met established industry standards in areas of safety, facility, programming, policies and procedures. Hetra's staff includes path int'l certified instructors, occupational, physical and mental health therapists. Program services include hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, carriage driving and a separate program for veterans. Students range in age from 2 to adult with various physical and developmental disabilties. During 2014, we served 192 students through 3,751 billed sessions with community support of more than 18,000 volunteer hours.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Lindsay F.


Rating: 4

I thought since there was a review of HETRA from a parent's perspective I would add one from a volunteer/student. I have been volunteering for several years now. I have always loved kids and horses so putting the two together has been perfect for me. HETRA has been not only a great way for me to give to the community, but a fun way to exercise along with so many other benefits I can't name them all. Volunteering at HETRA has been therapy for me as I know it has been for so many other volunteers too! I will never forget the times I have been having a horrible day and I get to the barn and within minutes literallyl I have forgotten about it and am just plain happy. Growing up with special needs of my own this was one place that I felt I could be open and not be judged or limited. In fact I think it has given me a special insight to a small piece of what some of the students and their families are going through. I can't say how many friends I have made through going to the barn. HETRA has been such a big part of my life and I don't plan to change that any time soon. In fact HETRA has been a big reason for me to try to find a job close by. Others have told me there are other therapeutic riding places around which is true, but I know it wouldn't be the same. I can't say thank you enough to those at HETRA who have taught me along the way about riding, horses, people, and life!

Client Served

Rating: 5

HETRA instructors, volunteers, and the generous donors, you complete our lives. You give our children joy, confidence and the feeling of control. My daughter and I cannot imagine life without you. My daughter has been involved with therapeutic riding for over 18 years. When we relocated back home to Omaha in 1999 we were fortunate to find HETRA. Skippy and Lady were two of the first horses my daughter rode and a bond was immediately formed. She then rode Rowdy, Lucky and Rodie just to name a few. The relationship that she and Skippy have cannot be described in words. Only seeing the two together would one truly understand. In simple terms, Skippy is the love of her life! Over the past 11 years I believe she has riden every session only missing due to bad weather or illness.

So with that being said, the heart of this program comes from the therapy horses. Hundreds and hundreds of hours go into training before they are even ready to perform their duties. With so much heart and compassion that comes from these gentle giants, that put out the muscle that give our children the freedom to soar. Their strong bodies that move smoothly around the arena giving the student the independence and feeling of control for that moment in time when they are on their horse.

My daughter faces many challenges on a daily basis, but has the attitude and desire to live life to its fullest. For those of you that know my family I hope she has touched your life as much as all of you have touched ours. Please know from the bottom of my heart how much we appreciate HETRA for all they have given to our children. There’s never a doubt that each and every one of the staff and volunteers love what they are doing and it shows through their commitment and compassion of what this whole program is about. It’s always about the students, from the comfortable atmosphere, to the goals that are set and the concern for each individual in the program.

HETRA has been a time for her to bust out of the confines of her chair and be her soccer, her softball, her tennis, her golf, her aerobics, an activity she can do that gives her freedom, all the while the gentle horse being her guide and support. A time of achievement, winning, striving and conquering. She can do it all, but not without the assistance of the therapy horses and the supporters.

Review from Guidestar