Ridin’ High activities and therapies are centered around interaction with our therapy horses. Therapy horses have to be sound, tolerant, people-oriented, healthy, and quiet. They also have to be able to carry ‘unbalanced’ riders and tolerate having sidewalkers and leaders in addition to the rider. The requirements are stringent and only about 1 in 20 horses qualifies for this important job!
All of the horses at Ridin’ High have been through extensive testing and training to ensure that they will be a great fit for our riders. Upon retirement, they are either returned to their owners or placed in carefully selected and screened lifetime homes.
In return for their contribution to the lives of our riders, our horses are extremely well-loved and taken care of at a high level. They receive individualized nutrition plans, healthcare/dental, regular vet/farrier work, MagnaWave Therapy and even massage therapy! When not in use, they spend their days in pastures with their horse friends. As a PATH-recommended ‘best practice,’ we bring variety and interest in the horses’ lives by occasionally taking them on low-key outings, such as trail rides, walking cattle sorting, obstacle courses, or other activities that will provide a mental break for them. Best of all, they are loved and appreciated by the riders, staff, and volunteers. To sponsor or donate a horse, please contact us.
Meet the Herd
Everyone says that my pleasant temperament is perfect for therapy work (I’m humble and unassuming, so I can’t comment on that). However, I do know that I’m being used as a ‘confidence builder’ for many riders and that nothing really fazes me. I don’t trot (I am a walking horse, after all!) but riders like my smooth running walk, kind attitude, and splashy colors.
2023 I’ve been sponsored by Cindy Brombach and Lisa & Randy Rigg–THANKS!
I’m a Percheron draft horse, but please don’t be intimidated by my size. I’m known as the ‘gentle giant’ around here and try hard to live up to that name. Truth be told, I’m a tad bit lazy and actually prefer to use as little energy as possible in lessons. However, the Ridin’ High instructors have recently discovered that I’m pretty good at trotting outside on trails…so I think my secret’s out!
For 2023, I’ve been sponsored by Cathy Scott.
I’m a well-loved therapy horse at Ridin’ High and am happy to help more independent riders gain riding and life skills. I’m also the ‘centerpiece’ for the First Responders and Veterans’ Program. I’ve got a great life here! My owner, Pat, pays for many ‘extras’ for me, including acupuncture, chiropractic work, customized shoeing, all of which keep me happy and comfortable. Thanks to Pat, my sponsors, and the Ridin’ High staff, I’m ‘living the dream.’
For 2023, I’ve been sponsored by Lori & Dave Baker; therapies and shoeing were paid for by Pat–THANKS!
Even though I’m a fancy pony with great movement, looks, and talent (or so everyone says) I also have a wonderful temperament for therapeutic work. When I’m not working, you can generally find me hanging out with my horse friends.
(Note: Special thanks to Maggie and Janet for their generosity in helping us obtain this incredible pony.)
For 2023, I’ve been sponsored by Barbara Ashton–THANKS!
I’m in the program on long-term lease, thanks to the generosity of Kayla (my owner). Even though I’m only 7 years old, I have the perfect therapy horse temperament–at least, that’s what everyone says! I’ve got to say that I’m great at calmly helping beginning riders learn to walk and trot on their own; I can also be used for riders with more physical limitations. Best of all, I’m well-behaved and take everything in stride.
For 2023, I’ve been sponsored by Ruth Messerschmidt Carpenter and Lucinda Carpenter Rinzel–THANKS!
Believe it or not, I’m a Tennessee Walking Horse who doesn’t gait–I trot. Before coming here, I was used for lessons for children, trail riding, and have even been in a parade or two. I’m on ‘free lease’ from a very busy family, who felt that my skill set and temperament would be great for Ridin’ High riders…and they were right! I’ve made the transition to being a therapy horse and am now used for several lessons each week.
For 2023 I’ve been sponsored by George & Anita Valentine in honor of their grandson, Harlan Ray Valentine–THANKS!
I’m the perfect size (14:3 hh), breed (Morgan) and build (stocky) to be a therapy horse. I also have quite a bit of advanced training, so am a great fit for more independent riders. I have a forward walk, steady trot, and can also canter and do a little lateral work. My skills give riders a fun riding experience and a chance to advance their skills–which leads to confidence. Of course, I’m a pretty attractive mare, too, if I do say so myself!
In 2023, I’ve been sponsored by the Jett Family and Cindy–THANKS!!
I’m a Haflinger and the perfect size and build for a therapy horse (I’m also pretty handsome–at least everyone says that!). I’ve been a stellar trail horse for many years and have a lot of ‘natural horsemanship’ training. I arrived recently at Ridin’ High and will be in training to see if I’m a good fit for Ridin’ High.
I’m also looking for a sponsor!
I’m a Grayson Highlands Festival Pony and have a very interesting history. I was born as a wild pony in the Grayson Highlands State Park (Va.) and sold at the pony auction as a weanling. My owner was training me to be a therapy pony and loved me a lot. However, she was needed to help with some family health issues, so agreed to let Linda bring me to Ridin’ High. I’m doing great with my training and help out with groundwork lessons and Pony Partners; I’ve also started my under saddle training and hope to help out as a riding therapy pony for a long time. (PS: I’m the smallest horse or pony at Ridin’ High, but that doesn’t stop me from bossing around all the ‘big’ horses!)
For 2023, I’m sponsored by Lisa Rigg and Linda Bird
I was used in the program for ‘led’ and independent lesson. Everyone liked my calm manner, training level, and good looks. Unfortunately, I developed some spinal issues (suspected kissing spine) that made it hard for me to be happy in lessons–but I am super content and comfortable being a beautiful pasture pet! I’ve been retired to a fantastic home, where I’ll be spoiled every day. My ‘new’ job will also entail helping Ginger get used to our home — because guess what? We’re being retired together! How cool is that?
So I just might be one of the most famous therapy horses at Ridin’ High ever! Even though I have a bit of a sassy personality (I prefer to say, “spicy”) when not being ridden, I’m always a true “professional therapy pony” in the arena. I’ve helped literally hundreds of riders through the many years I’ve been at Ridin’ High!
In the Fall of 2023, the staff took me to the eye specialists at UT Vet School where they discovered I’ve lost about 75% of my vision (due to suspected equine recurrent uveitis). You would have never guessed that, because I love my job, kept providing great therapeutic experiences, and never set a hoof wrong. Despite the fact I’m great at my job, the staff and board felt it would be best for me to retire with Zorro. I’m hoping to keep the rest of my vision, but if not–I’ll already be familiar with my new place, can follow Zorro around, and keep living my best life!
Help Our Horses
To sponsor (or partially sponsor) one of our horses, contact our office by email ([email protected]) or phone (423-585-0331). Horse sponsorships are $1200/year, which includes hay, grain, hoof trimming, routine vet work, and care. Partial sponsorships (for $400, $600, or $800) are also available. We also accept donations of hay, grain, and horse care items. We are looking for horse sponsors! Horses can be sponsored by individuals, businesses, clubs, or organizations. They can also be sponsored anonymously in ‘honor’ or memory of a loved one.
We have also established a ‘veterinarian / medication / supplemental feed’ fund to pay for non-routine costs, such as special medications and treatments to help maintain our horses’ soundness and comfort. For example, some of our horses required special medications, feed, shoeing, and supplements. If you’re interested in donating to this fund, indicate it on your check…for online donations, indicate this fund in your comments. Thanks!
Our horses are extremely important to us and we follow horse industry (and PATH) standards in providing their care. We have earned the “Guardian” status by Equus Foundation, which indicates we follow best practices in caring for our horses. Only ten centers in the southeast have achieved this distinction. Consider joining us to help us continue to provide excellent care for our horses!