Happy Trails - West Linn, Oregon

                            WELCOME TO HAPPY TRAILS RIDING CENTER

Welcome to Happy Trails Riding Center in West Linn, Oregon, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA and a PATH accredited therapeutic riding center.  Driving through the gates down the tree lined driveway you're immediately struck by the peacefulness that envelopes you.  You're in the middle of the city yet all you hear are the leaves rustling in the trees, birds chirping and the nickering of horses in the pasture.  We strive to maintain that same peaceful feeling through out each of our riding lessons with the help of very special horses, a team of well trained and caring volunteers and PATH certified riding instructors.  Before a rider even sits on the horse for their first lesson, we have determined exactly that rider's level of disabilities and more importantly, their ABILITIES.  We then choose the appropriate horse and volunteer team for the rider and devise a specific riding plan for them.

PATH, Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, is a membership organization that fosters safe, professional, ethical and therapeutic equine activities through education, communication, standards and research for people with and without disabilities.  Our instructors, Nicole Budden, Mary Lou Patzkowski and Ellen van Nood have completed the stringent certification program through PATH.  In addition they are CPR and First Aid certified and participate in PATH approved continuing education seminars in order to maintain their credentials.


Our Mission at Happy Trails Riding Center, a 501(c) 3 non-profit, is to enhance the physical, psychological and social well-being of children and adults with disabilities and special needs through horsemanship and social opportunities.


Every year we experience more riders facing the challenges and reaping the rewards of Happy Trails Riding Center's services.  We serve children and adults of all ages with a wide range of special needs who have been diagnosed with a physical, cognitive or emotional disability.  Participants may come to Happy Trails Riding Center as individuals or as a part of a school, recreation, therapy or other group.  No clinical diagnosis is necessary to participate; however, participants must have a need for our specialized and therapeutic environment.


Riders, 3 to 80 years old, come to Happy Trails with varied backgrounds and abilities.  Whether they have physical, cognitive, sensory or emotional disabilities, they all benefit from riding or working with the horses at our center. For children and adults with disabilities, the equestrian experience is life changing.  No other therapeutic recreational opportunity benefits so many aspects of a disability in such a complete mind, body and spirit connection.

The three-dimensional movement of the horse's back while walking mirrors the human walking gait, providing a repetitive pattern of movement.  As the horse's center of gravity shifts forward and backward, up and down, side to side, students will experience the physical benefits of the strengthening of the pelvic and spine muscles, improved posture, coordination, joint mobility and cardiovascular exercise.  In addition to the physical benefits, imagine the emotional leaps in self confidence and independence a rider who uses a wheelchair feels when riding a horse.  Before your eyes you'll witness the intense relationship a rider develops with his or her horse, instructor, volunteers and fellow students.  Our riders may not be able to control their bodies or put a voice to their thoughts, but riding atop their 1,000 pound equine partner, they eagerly ride into a stronger sense of self confidence and independence.



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