Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center Serving all individuals with unique abilities and health needs


“Ivy Hill is supported (in part) by the VNA Foundation of Greater North Penn for its program, "Silver Reins and Golden Saddles". Having worked with numerous programs to support the elderly and disabled over the years, I can vouch for the difference made in the lives of older and disabled adults, when Ivy Hill's program reached out into the community to touch the lives of many in senior centers, senior housing, and adult daily living centers. For those older adults, the special connection and therapy of relating to their new equine friends generated more than just smiles, but provided an increased sense of well-being, and a connection to life in a new way. Having witnessed this program and the difference their equine therapy provides, I want others in the community to know that the programs at Ivy Hill have made a significant difference to those served!”

Joanne Kline, VNA Foundation of Greater North Penn

“On May 4, 2016 a group of 7 students and 3 staff from Souderton Vantage Academy visited Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center and participated in the program Mane Force. Vantage Academy is a therapeutic school that serves students through educational, counseling, and behavior management services. Many students who attend Vantage struggle with, anxiety, depression, and social skills.

During the visit, our students had opportunities to work with horses with the guidance of the Ivy Hill staff. The staff at Ivy Hill is nurturing, caring, and professional. As I watched my students interact with the horses, I was reminded again that depressed, anxious, and emotionally disturbed children who are unable or willing to leave their comfort zone and trust other people will take a risk to interact and bond with a horse because of the non-threatening way an animal can accept love and caring from the child without the conditions that often are part of human interactions.

I watched my students who most often present a flat, sad or angry attitude at school relax, smile, and “light up” as they groomed, petted or worked with a horse in the ring. Students commented that the horse were strong yet gentle. As my students watched the horses interact with each other they started to make comparisons about their own relationships with other people. Interacting with the horses and watching the horse’s behaviors opened up good discussion about their own family and peer relationships.

After working and interacting with the horses at Ivy Hill, I observed that my students appeared less anxious and sad. Two students reported that the experience at Ivy Hill helped them feel “more alive”. Another student expressed that she felt a great sense of accomplishment because she was able to take a risk and work with a big and powerful animal. She said that she felt successful. One young man said that he never realized that horse have personalities; just like people.

It is my opinion that the time my students spent with the horse and staff at IVY Hill was a positive emotionally powerful experience. It is my hope that our students can work with these hoses more often in the future. I believe that therapeutic work with horses can help open up our depressed and anxious students to be willing to take a risk and open up to the positive supportive people they have in their life so they can begin or continue to heal.” 

Lorraine Sulik, Program Director, Souderton Vantage Academy.