CHAPS was founded in August, 2003 and was originally established as an Adaptive Riding Program to serve children and adults with special needs. We are a Premier Accredited Center with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), a global authority and advocate for equine-assisted activities and therapies that inspire and enrich the human spirit. Over the years our program has expanded to offer Adaptive Carriage Driving, Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning. Our participants now include, not only individuals, but also groups of Veterans from the Sheridan VA Medical Center, Veterans' Home of WY, Volunteers of America and at-risk youth from Sheridan School District #2.
The benefits of human-horse interaction have been well known for many years. Equine Assisted Services can be highly rewarding and works on several different levels. It can be a physical benefit, for example, riders can build core strength, increase flexibility and improve balance. On a mental-emotional level, working with the horses can help people achieve emotional growth and learning.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy sessions are a collaborative effort between a licensed clinical therapist and an equine professional who work directly with participants and the horses. Activities are all experiential and metaphorical; each activity has a written goal and objectives. The purpose of these sessions is to reduce emotional reactivity, anxiety and depression as well as improve coping, relationship and communication skills.
Our professional staff and volunteers work closely with clients to ensure safe lessons and increase confidence. Every effort is made to ensure safety of the client, horse, volunteers and staff. CHAPS' instructors have a strong equine background, as well as an understanding of various disabilities. Each staff member earns a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education per year. Our staff is comprised of outstanding individuals with a heart to help people.