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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Human Services

Mission: Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy is a full time, year-round PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center founded in 1982. Equine assisted therapies and riding are unique experiences as we partner with our horses. Riding benefits our participants as the horses' three-dimensional movements help to stretch and strengthen muscles, move joints, improve balance and coordination. As a form of equine-assisted therapy, our horses are effective in helping to build self-esteem and self-confidence. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of service and strive to improve the quality of life for our riders, participants, families, and volunteers at Pegasus TRA.

Target demographics: Children and adults with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities by partnering with our therapy horses.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100+ riders and program participants, 150+ volunteers

Geographic areas served: Philadelphia, PA

Programs: Equine assisted therapies and therapeutic horse back riding lessons in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding communities. We rely on volunteers to assist our participants and riders in our programs. We provide volunteer orientations twice a month. Volunteers assist our PATH Certified Instructors to help take care of our horses, prepare for lessons and provide assistance during lessons to work with our riders, horses and programs.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

The “Back in the Tack” riding program for adults (formerly known as “Senior Saddles”) at Pegasus TRA was the perfect place for me to start riding again 20 years post-surgery for esophageal cancer, which left me permanently disabled. Before cancer, I had been riding, training, and showing horses as an amateur for 30 years. After cancer, I was afraid that my disability would prevent me from ever riding and showing again. Without warning, I can experience debilitating nausea, painful colic or reflux, and hypoglycemia. When I heard about the Senior Saddles program at Pegasus TRA, I signed up, knowing the instructors at a therapeutic riding stable would be understanding of my challenges and concerns. At Pegasus TRA, my confidence, stamina, and strength has grown, along with my ability to ride and show again. Two years in a row I qualified to ride in the Grand Championship class for therapeutic riders at the Devon Horse Show, winning the Reserve Grand Championship with my lesson horses. Being at Pegasus also gave me the courage to volunteer assisting other riders with therapeutic riding lessons, completing barn chores, and exercising school horses. Being able to spend time with horses again has brought joy back into my life. The other benefits I received from my time at Pegasus TRA are a sense of accomplishment, competence, pride, developing relationships with the horses, and finding like-minded friends among the staff, instructors, riders, and volunteers with whom I have had the pleasure of working. I love this place and highly recommend it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy for three years. I have had a life-long love of horses, but had no hands-on experience with them. I had professional experience in special education, so the Pegasus mission seemed to be the perfect fit for my interests. My instincts were correct!

The staff members and other volunteers willingly share their expertise and guidance in caring for the horses and dealing with barn routines. As your competencies increase, greater responsibility in handling the horses is permitted. The riders and their families/caregivers are appreciative and supportive of the volunteers efforts. It is rewarding to witness, and feel part of, the joy that grooming or sitting on a horse provides, the personal growth that responsibility, patience, and improving motor skills demonstrates, and the competitive equestrian abilities that some riders develop.

There are opportunities to give time outside of the barn and arena through fundraising committees and other activities. I have enjoyed taking advantage of the personalized weekly riding lessons offered by the excellent staff instructors. Riding a horse is a dream come true!

Volunteering at Pegasus has provided me with fulfilling experiences, and increased personal confidence working with and enjoying the company of the horses, riders, volunteers, and staff members.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter, Emily, has been a rider at Pegasus TRA for many years. Riding has given her strength, poise, confidence, and a place to belong. Being on a horse calms her anxiety, relaxes her, and brings her great joy. The Staff at Pegasus is just wonderful, they are patient, and kind, while still challenging Emily to be the best rider she can be. Pegasus is a special place, and I’m so happy that Emily gets to ride there.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Supportive therapeutic riding program with educated and caring staff. Wonderful therapy horses that are uniquely partnered with their riders. Great experience

Board Member

Rating: 5

Pegasus is an amazing organization, as it provides riders with a unique and meaningful experience. The organization is dedicated to creating lasting experiences and the horses are one of a kind. Truly a remarkable place!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The staff is very kind and truly care about the children. They go out of their way to meet the clients needs. Very professional

paks6999

Client Served

Rating: 5

Pegasus therapeutic riding has been a game changer in my son's life. For the first time in his life at 15, he's making friends and meeting people who accept him for who he is. Riding has helped with physical challenges as well as sensory and emotional issues. It's given him better balance and he even taught himself to ride a bike using the same skills he uses for riding horses. He's learned that you don't have to win to have fun, and he's learning to cheer on other riders. He's learning too many life and social skills at pegasus to list, but suffice it to say, PEGASUS IS AMAZING.

Joy B.3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had nothing but fantastic experiences with this group. The horses are fabulous and the instructors really put their heart into the program. I have been so impressed that they have care planned goals for each rider and even have a PT screen the riders to establish a plan. Pegasus takes riders to therapeutic horse shows providing the riders a competitive sport with an equal playing field.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was looking to become more involved among my local community, and couldn't have been appointed to a better organization--Pegasus is operated from the heart; offers a much-needed services to people of all abilities in a friendly, family-focused environment. Very proud to serve the Pegasus community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Pegasus is an incredible organization to be a part of. The care that they take of their equine staff is impressive. The horses are fed top quality feeds, see the equine chiropractor and massage therapist regularly, and are given any assistance they need medically. What a great place to be a horse!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Pegasus is a wonderful organization. The staff strives to meet each rider’s individual needs and continue to expand and improve the program. Riders and volunteers gain not only riding and horsemanship skills but new meaning and purpose because of Pegasus.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful therapeutic riding program with excellent staff and incredible therapy horses. Program is constantly challenging riders with new goals. Staff is supportive and encouraging!

Donor

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization that impacts the lives of so many in the Philadelphia area community. Inspiring new programs specializing in autism spectrum and children of first responders also.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Charlotte. I'm twenty-eight years old, I have cerebral palsy, and I have been riding with Pegasus for almost my entire life. When I started I had almost no muscle tone. As my father puts it, I was like a sack of flour. After several months, I finally sat up on my own. Following that achievement, I continued to grow stronger with the help of Pegasus's therapeutic program, a surgery I had when I was three, and other therapies. But everything started with Pegasus. At age eight I was able to start riding in horse shows, an activity I continue to pursue today. I can now ride fairly independently.

I owe so much to this nonprofit and its horses that I haven't the words to describe my gratitude. I don't know where I'd be without everyone involved with the program.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Pegasus is a remarkable place for children and adults of varied special needs. Beyond the physical accomplishments that equine therapy fosters, the connection the riders make with the horses is astonishing, much of which is due to the gentle horses and the staff. My son truly gets beyond excited when i tell him we are going to ride horses.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Pegasus Riding has been an incredible experience for my child. We've had difficulty finding activities for him that cater to his special needs. After two years, he's physically stronger, more confident, and looks forward to his lessons. It's clearly empowering to be up on a big horse, and Pegasus makes sure that riders are kept very safe -- usually with one experienced volunteer leading the horse around the ring, and two volunteers on each side of the horse to make sure that he does not fall off.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Fantastic for My experience in seven years. Great people exellent preparation of instructors, very family context

Client Served

Rating: 5

my son and daugther ride here . I have nothing but wonderful things to say about them .The staff is so amazing with the kids and get on there level . My kids both love riding their horses and love their teachers . They get so excited every week about going . I can't thank the staff enough how good they are to my twins . We love everyone there . 5 star in my book.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm the proud parent of a rider at Pegasus. The facility, the office, the staff and all the wonderful volunteers have treated my son and I like family for the last 5 years. It's more than
a place to have a horse ride. It's a place where you can see the riders gain skill, strength and confidence as the weeks progress. All the people at Pegasus are special in their own right. And all seem very happy to be there.
Thank you.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering here to work with the horses, but it's the riders that have given me new found hope. I meet new riders all the time and I watch their faces as they grow stronger, happier and more confident. When I see these riders grow and heal, I can't help but be affected as well.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 9 year old daughter Grace is a miracle. She was born 16 weeks early and weighed only 1lb and 6oz. Grace is VERY stubborn and VERY strong and she fought for her first 5 months to survive. My girl made it and when she was 2, she was healthy and thriving, but was diagnosed as profoundly autistic and mentally retarded. About 2 years ago, my mother saw a piece on tv that profiled Pegasus Riding Academy and contacted them about Gracie. When we started to ride, we were very nervous about how Grace would do. Would she have a tantrum? Would she pitch herself off the horse? Would the staff let us stay? Well - she WAS a huge handful for the therapists and volunteers when we started, for sure, but they were so amazingly patient and kind with her. (and reassuring with me!)When Grace finally started to "get it"...it was exactly as the team had predicted. I can't say enough good things about the staff and volunteers at Pegasus. We travel 45+ minutes to go to lessons every Monday night...and it's worth every minute. Ami and the rest of the team have come to know Grace very well and there is no question that Gracie loves it. (she giggles the whole way home) She's learning how to command this situation, and push boundaries, too. What does it mean for a 9 year old girl that can't speak a word, who finds the world confusing and hard to navigate, to get on top of a horse every week and laugh and hold hands with caring people? It means everything. It means Gracie has something for herself. An endeavor that is hers alone. At the last horse show at Pegasus this Summer, Grace won the blue ribbon for her group of riders. I wish I had a way to share a picture here...Grace holding her blue ribbon while on top of her horse Casey. There wasn't a way to laugh or talk about it for the whole day - we were all too busy crying with joy. In short, these folks have been life-changers for Gracie and our family.