­The Exceptional Riders Program was formed in 1984 and is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing horseback riding lessons for physically, mentally, and emotionally challenged children and adults. The program meets in spring and fall for eight weeks, one night per week, two classes per night. The students are taught to ride and not given "pony ride". The horse is controlled, not led. The hour lesson consists of mounted exercise, games, and riding instructions. Standards of safety are top priority and to enhance the rider's physical and mental well being. Goals are set for each individual according to their needs, experience, and ability level. The volunteers are there to help them meet those goals.


We strive to help our students:

  • ­Physically strengthen and relax muscles and develop balance, agility, and cooridnation.

  • Socially develop new friendships, have fun, and share happiness.

  • Psychologically develop self awareness, gain a sense of achievement, increase motivaiton, awareness, and courage.

Program Goals

The Exceptional Riders Program encourages individuals with special needs to improve balance and self-esteem through the use of therapeutic horseback riding.

  • Exceptional Riders celebrating over 30 years of Therapeutic Riding.

  • Accredited through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.

  • Our instructors are certified through PATH.

  • Our volunteers are trained.

  • Our horses are trusted.

Exceptional Riders Program Goal Statement

Our purpose is to enhance the lives of individuals who have special needs through equine assisted activities and therapies while teaching the sport of horsemanship. Therapeutic Riding provides healthy exercise, allowing each individual to be successful by focusing what they can accomplish, not what they cannot. 


Today the Exceptional Riders Program serves riders of all ages who have physical, emotional or cognitive disabilities. 


How do I get Involved?

If you would like to volunteer you may submit your information below and a member of the Exceptional Riders Program will contact you. You may also call 231-883-1221 to begin volunteering. We look forward to hearing from you!­

Who are we?

Phone Number  

­The Exceptional Riders Program utilizes volunteers from the community and relies on donations. This is a non-profit entirely volunteer driven program. Student participation is free of charge.