Founder Anne Davis left her 20-year career in the airline industry to start the organization in 2007. Inspired by her daughter, 13 year old Jamie Lynn who happened to be born with Down Syndrome, she started a therapeutic riding program on a farm in Washington, PA, leasing the facilities and horses. The program began with 3 students and quickly grew to capacity, serving 27 clients per week, with over 75 volunteers. In 2013 Horses with Hope incorporated as a nonprofit organization, bought four horses and moved the program to the South Hills of Pittsburgh. This expansion enabled the program to nearly double the number of individuals served per week to 50, with well over 100 volunteers from surrounding communities. This growth is attributable to both our reputation and efforts of outreach to the underserved groups that we knew could benefit from our services including group homes for the physically and developmentally disabled, a psychiatric hospital working with the mental health populations, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Allegheny Intermediate Unit Schools.
By 2014 the learning center had expanded to 100 clients per week, when school is in session, offering both therapeutic riding and Equine Assisted Learning sessions. Of the organization’s 100+ volunteers, 70% are teenagers engaged in service learning. We are recognized by 4 universities as a site for internships. The current facility boasts over 93 acres, 6 horses, outdoor riding arena, a sensory trail riding area and indoor barn used to house the animals.
Over the next three years our strategic plan calls for:
Start a career exploration program for youth interested in careers in equine studies or other animal welfare related fields
Further develop our partnership with University of Pittsburgh, Chatham University, Duquesne University, Cal-U, providing internship and research opportunities
Start an institutional program designed to serve teams from group homes, schools catering to the special needs and therapy groups, focusing on: human growth & development, leadership training, team building. The goal will be to use the equine therapy programs as a framework to help individuals with developmental and physical disabilities and negative behaviors, to enhance workplace and daily living skills.
Create a more structured volunteer program for schools districts, retirees
Horses with Hope is currently the largest organization providing equine therapy services in southwestern PA.