Equestrian Center

Equine Assisted Programs and Therapeutic Riding

The Delores Barr Weaver Therapeutic Equestrian Center offers therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted activities, just 10 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. It houses four horses in the welcoming Dorothy and Lee Thomas Equestrian Barn, with an adjacent viewing area for parents and siblings under a sprawling live oak.

Equine therapy helps children and adults with intellectual and developmental differences (IDD) reach their full potential by improving confidence, flexibility, balance, posture and muscle strength as well as psychological, cognitive, behavioral, social, and communication skills.

NFSSE offers therapeutic riding lessons and groundwork activities for children and adults with IDD after school and on weekends. A percentage of riding opportunities is reserved for neurotypical children to learn alongside riders with IDD. This Reverse Inclusion activity has been shown to benefit both parties and is a lot of fun.


Download Rider Registration Form 

NFSSE Families: $200 per 6-week session

Community Riders: $260 per 6-week session

Register at My School Bucks

Contact Leigh Washburn with questions at lbelmont@northfloridaschool.org

Therapeutic Riding

Therapeutic Riding lessons are equestrian skill-based lessons for children and adults with IDD to help them reach their full potential. The focus of the lessons is skill development and progression while improving the rider’s physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social skills. Taught by a therapeutic riding instructor, and assisted by volunteers, the private lessons are 1 hour long. As much as possible, the riders participate in pre-mounted and post-mounted horse care.  students and community-based riders.

Groundwork Activities

Groundwork Activity lessons are designed to focus on equestrian skills, such as horse care, grooming, leading, lunging or long-lining. Sometimes called “unmounted lessons,” groundwork does not involve riding the horse, but rather seeks to further the student’s physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social development while he or she interacts with the horses on the ground. Students who participate in our groundwork programs find them engaging and rewarding, often naming increased confidence and developing a special bond with the horse as key benefits. Groundwork is also great exercise! Groundwork activities are available during the school hours only for North Florida School of Special Education students.


Volunteers Needed!

We’re looking for volunteers to join our Equestrian program as side walkers and leaders. If you are 14 years old or older and interested in working with horses and riders, we’d love to have your help.

Sign Up to Volunteer

Download Release Form