For many, horseback riding is just an enjoyable pastime. But for someone with special needs, it can be so much more: a child with autism speaks his first word into his horse’s ear; an adult with cerebral palsy relaxes and lengthens her muscles in response to the animal’s gentle gait. Lift Me Up! Therapeutic Riding Program regularly inspires experiences like these, helping people with special needs strive for new levels of physical and emotional health. Clients have a range of developmental and health conditions – from multiple sclerosis to hearing impairment – and this professionally certified program offers summer camps and riding lessons adapted to their various needs, as well as hippotherapy (treatment under the guidance of a trained therapist). Military veterans take lessons free of charge, discovering new ways to process and move on from the injuries of war, both physical and emotional. Each week, more than 100 individuals, with the help of 200 volunteers, take a transformational ride. You can help lift even more riders into the saddle – where spirits are lifted, too.

Headquarters: VA-Fairfax County

Where They Operate: VA-Fairfax County

Age Groups Served: Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American; Asian American; Caucasian; Latino/Hispanic; Other

Population(s) Served: Individuals with Disabilities

Awards & Recognition

Honored by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, May 2015
Featured on Harris' Heroes WJLA 7 Jan 14, 2015
Featured in episode of Wednesday's Child, NBC 5, Sept. 2014
PATH International Premier Accredited Center, July 2014
TRAV Show High Point Center, October 2013


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Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for Lift Me Up! Therapeutic Riding Program is: Less than $500k

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