Becoming a Therapy Horse
It takes a very special horse to become a part of the NCEFT herd. Our horses are working athletes that must be in top condition and excellent health. They need to posses a gentle and tolerant temperament. They must be willing to be lead at the halter or guided from behind using long lines. They must want to do their very special job of safely carrying children as young as two and adults who are seniors.
Most of NCEFT’s equine therapists (horses) are donated or leased, rather than purchased. Our horses work an average of five days a week for no more than four 30-minute sessions each day. Approximately every 9-10 weeks, our horses have 1-2 week breaks. Below are some criteria often used in determining whether a horse will fit into our programs. Please note all horses under consideration for our programs must pass a 45-60 day on-site trial period before becoming permanent members of our therapy herd.
- Have full and complete vision
- Be healthy and in top condition
- Be sound in all four legs with no history of chronic lameness
- Have good ground, stall and handling manners
- Fall between 7 and 17 years of age
- Stand between 13 and 15.3 hands
- Be capable of being ridden by beginners and children
- Be comfortable with loud noises and quick movements
- Accept novel items and environments (i.e. balls being tossed, bubbles being blown)
- NCEFT does not accept gaited horses
NCEFT prides itself on providing outstanding care for each of its therapy horses. Horses receive:
- hay 2-3 times a day
- balanced feed at lunch with necessary supplements and medications
- daily exercise based on short and long-term training goals
- weekly group and/or individual turn-out
- periodic “vacations” with all-day turnout, each lasting 1-2 weeks
- exemplary vet (Bayhill Equine) and farrier care (Performance Horseshoeing)
To submit your horse for consideration, please e-mail NCEFT Barn Manager, Marty Raynor, with a brief description of your horse (age, height, breed, training background, etc.) and 2-3 photos and/or video. If your horse meets a current need in our program, we’ll contact you to arrange an evaluation. Should your horse seem suitable, we’ll ask to take him/her on trial to further evaluate their appropriateness for our program.
Thanks for considering placing your horse with NCEFT!