Please browse our list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) for brief answers to many common questions.
What is the difference between hippotherapy and therapeutic riding?
Hippotherapy is physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy conducted on horseback by a licensed therapist. These sessions are normally one on one with a therapist working towards therapy goals. Hippotherapy patients can be as young as 2 years old to start services. Therapeutic riding is an adapted horseback riding lesson taught by a certified therapeutic riding instructor. The goals of these group lessons are riding skills with the outside benefits of increasing fine and gross motor skills, strengthening muscles, working on social skills and rhythmical movement great for sensory processing and focus! Both types of services are assisted by volunteers leading the horse and walking on either side of the patient or rider. As the patient or rider grows and develops their skills and safety awareness, those volunteers may be taken away to create more and more independence.
Does insurance cover services?
NVTRP does not work with insurance, however hippotherapy patients are encouraged to file for reimbursement with their insurance. Because hippotherapy is physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy on horseback, many insurance providers will reimburse. The same codes used when seeing a patient in a clinic, are used when providing hippotherapy. NVTRP will provide codes and invoices needed. Therapeutic riding is usually not covered at this time as it is an adaptive sport/recreation and not a therapy or medical service.
What is the cost?
Fall – $1560
My child does not have a disability. How do I sign them up for lessons?
NVTRP offers limited lesson slots for individuals without disabilities through Fairfax County Parktakes. Riders must sign up and pay directly through the county.
My child does not have a disability. Do I need to fill out all of the rider forms for them to be able to sign up and ride?
Yes. All riders need to have a complete set of paperwork to be able to ride. Contact us if you are not sure which packet is required for your rider.
What happens if my child is sick, or unable to make their lesson?
If you are unable to attend a scheduled lesson, please make every effort to notify NVTRP 24 hours in advance by calling us at 703-764-0269. Sufficient notice is needed so that we can communicate with staff and volunteers. Based on our flat rate fee, client cancellations are not refundable. We do not offer make-up lessons.
What happens to lessons in inclement weather?
Every effort will be made to hold scheduled lessons. In the event of inclement weather, lessons will continue as planned and students will be instructed in the barn. Each session has horsemanship lessons built into the schedule, which are usually saved for rainy days. Students learn to groom the horses, learn about the tack (bridles and saddles), help with feeding the horses, etc. If NVTRP must cancel a lesson the staff will contact families by email and/or phone. Lessons will only be canceled in extreme weather cases when NVTRP deems that it is not safe to hold a lesson on the farm.
What forms are required for my child to ride?
What do students wear?
Students are required to wear long pants -riding pants are preferred (shorts, and slippery pants are not recommended) – boots or shoes with a heel, and their own ASTM-SEI approved safety helmet.
How often does a student ride?
Most students ride once a week, in groups of two to four riders for 45 minutes. Each 45 minute lesson includes mounting and dismounting and the riding session. Hippotherapy sessions are one on one with the therapist and last 45 minutes. Riders sign up for a whole season at once. Winter is 6 weeks long Jan-Feb, Spring is 13 weeks March-June, Summer is 6 weeks July-August and Fall is 13 weeks August-December. Hippotherapy is only conducted in the spring and fall seasons and community lessons offered through Fairfax County Parktakes are 10 weeks spring and fall and 6 weeks winter and summer.
What qualifies this program to provide this service?
NVTRP is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), which inspects each program location and sets stringent safety and educational standards. All of NVTRP’s instructors are PATH Intl. certified.
What are the benefits of riding and working with horses?
While riding a horse, students are given the opportunity to feel freedom and power through movement. As the horse walks, the movement is transferred to the rider, providing a combination of sensory, motor, and neurological stimulation. This translates to stronger muscles, better balance and coordination, and improved gait. Just as important as the physical benefits, greater self-confidence and self-esteem can be achieved through the freedom of movement.
When are lessons given?
Lessons are offered seven days a week. You may contact the NVTRP office to inquire about the specific times and days that each program is offered.
Are there age limits for riders?
Children must be 4 years or older for therapeutic riding, 2 years or older for hippotherapy, and 6 years or older for our Community Lessons (for individuals without disabilities). There is no upper age limit. Potential riders are assessed during an interview ride to ensure riding is a beneficial activity for them.
Who does NVTRP serve?
The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program serves those with:
As well as:
Youth community organizations such as Alternative House
Military service personnel that may be living with challenges such as post-traumatic stress disorder, amputations, or traumatic brain injuries.
Individuals without disabilities
NVTRP offers community lessons and summer camps for riders without disabilities through Fairfax County Parktakes.