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Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary

The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) announced its 40th anniversary as a premier, accredited center that offers equine-assisted activities and therapies to children and adults with disabilities, youth-at-risk and military service personnel in the Washington Metropolitan Area.

NVTRP began as a 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program in 1980 after seeing the dramatic improvements that students living with special needs were making at a nearby facility. NVTRP founders, including Jacque Trefry, Dorothy Dowdy and Theresa Meade, sought advice on starting a therapeutic riding program in the community of Clifton, VA. After purchasing insurance, and securing permission from the Park Authority to operate in South Run Park, NVTRP was ready to take on its first students.

What began as a small operation with two horses, 15 riders, and limited volunteers has grown to a thriving program. In 2019, NVTRP served 463 clients for a total of 4,220 sessions supported by 16 equine partners.

Volunteers are an integral part of NVTRP. They assist riders during their sessions, help take care of horses and maintain the barn area. Last year more than 260 volunteers donated nearly 17,000 hours of their time to help ensure the program’s success.

“This is such an exciting time for NVTRP. Celebrating 40 years of service to Northern Virginia and surrounding communities is such a huge accomplishment. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the unwavering support of our clients, staff, volunteers and countless donors who believe in our mission of helping each individual realize their potential,” said Kelsey Gallagher, executive director. “The completion of our indoor arena in 2020 will be the icing on the cake.”

NVTRP is looking to break ground on an indoor arena as early as this summer. The new facility will allow for year-long operations without the threat of weather and the ability to serve additional clients.

Situated on a 17-acre farm in Clifton, VA, NVTRP currently employees three full-time and 15 part-time staff, instructors and therapists.

NVTRP is a premier center accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) and successfully completed reaccreditation in December 2019.


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