Our Mission

To help humans and horses find the therapeutic benefits of horsemanship by providing therapeutic horsemanship lessons and promoting the ethical use of equines.

Our Story - A Letter From a Founder

My name is Chelsea Reeves and horses have defined who I am for as long as I can remember. I fell into instructing accidentally at 16 when the owner of a barn I was riding at took me on a trail ride as a job interview (although I had no idea it was a job interview) and then at 18 I fell into teaching therapeutic lessons when the woman who became one of my mentors seemingly randomly asked me to teach a part of her lesson while I was volunteering for her (I didn’t realize that was also a job interview).

Since then, I have worked at multiple lesson barns as an instructor, as horse care staff, and as a manager and I have seen such beauty in people and horses teaching and supporting each other but unfortunately, I have also witnessed far too many truly ugly things in those barns. I have seen far too many horses working through pain, horses working who were not prepared for the job and the accidents that resulted from that, and horses given to homes of abuse or neglect or being put down just because the staffing was not available or not knowledgeable enough to put in the time to find an appropriate placement. In these barns, I have seen many happy clients in spite of the mistreatment to the horse and unfortunately, I have seen too many unhappy clients because their lesson horse did something that scared or hurt them simply because they were in pain or had just had enough. But I believe that there is a way that horsemanship can be therapeutic to both the rider and the horse. And in fact, I believe, doing right by the horse can be therapeutic for the rider.

I have also realized that the majority of the time these horses and clients were going through this not because of lack of compassion but because of lack of knowledge or awareness. And so, I decided to create True Hope Therapeutic Horsemanship to help humans and horses find the therapeutic benefits of horsemanship.

For humans, horses can be very therapeutic. Physically, the rhythmic motion of the horse’s gait can mimic the natural human gait and can improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. Cognitively, therapeutic horsemanship has been shown to improve focus, memory, planning, judgement ability, and problem-solving skills. Emotionally, the connection and interaction between horse and participant can be very rewarding. Horses are cognitive and sentient beings that can create unique bonds with the people who work with them. The relationship between horse and human can help to develop a sense of empathy. The interaction between horse and human, as well as with the instructor and other participants, can also help to obtain social goals.

For horses, human interaction can also be very rewarding. Because horses are cognitive and sentient beings, I believe this interaction can give a horse a sense of fulfillment. The relationship with a human can help to fulfill a horse’s need to be social and communicate. The involvement of people in the horse’s life can physically keep the horse safe and give it a sense of security. It can also help a horse expend energy and improve its physical well-being. Humans can help a horse to do things physically to help improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility. And of course, humans can provide a horse with food, water, shelter, and other basic care and comforts.

I created True Hope because I do not see why a participant’s happiness cannot go hand in hand with a horses’ happiness. I believe it is possible to run a therapeutic lesson program and help participants create and achieve their goals while keeping the horse’s well-being in mind. I am very thankful to those that helped put me on this path and for each stop along the way. And now I am able to pass on the good and the bad that I have learned and help people and horses find what is good in horsemanship. And I am hoping you will join me in our mission which is, “to help humans and horses find the therapeutic benefits of horsemanship by providing therapeutic horsemanship lessons, rescuing and rehabilitating equines, and promoting the ethical use of equines.”

Thank you,

Chelsea Reeves, Founder of True Hope Therapeutic Horsemanship

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True Hope Therapeutic Horsemanship is a 501(c)3 approved New Hampshire Nonprofit.