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Equine Welfare Network Messenger

We are a 2017 Messenger!

We are proud to be an EQUUS Foundation Messenger and share our horse care & use practices with the public.

The Messenger Designation is awarded annually. To retain an existing EQUUS Foundation Messenger designation and apply for an EQUUS Foundation grant in 2017, organizations must provide all required information and update their Messenger information on or after January 1, 2017 and not later than April 30, 2017.



Messengers are organizations on the Equine Welfare Network that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency and accountability by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their operations.

Click here to learn more about our horse care and use practices.

Special Equestrians, Inc.



Special Equestrians, Inc.
1215 Woodward Drive
Indian Springs AL 35124
205-987-9462

Tax ID/EIN: 63-1064900
Year Founded: 1985
Last Updated 2017-04-27

Public Charity


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Primary Focus involving horses (Horse Welfare, Public Service, Sport & Recreation):  Public Service

Our organization operates programs involved with providing equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) using certified instructors for individuals with special needs.

Our organization is directly responsible for the care of horses to provide its services.

100% of our total programs and services are horse-related.

Our organization conducts its horse-related programs at one facility.


Our Mission/How we are involved with horses:
Special Equestrians, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to provide high quality therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted activities to persons with physical, mental, developmental and emotional disabilities.

Horse-related programs:
The Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program is taught in small groups of up to six riders to allow for shared experiences with peers that may have similar disabilities and to encourage social interaction before, during, and after class. Children as young as four can participate and there is no specific upper age limit. Each rider may participate in weekly classes for 4-8 week terms throughout the year. Classes are approximately 45 minutes long and consist of stretching exercises and riding skills appropriate to their abilities. They may venture through the sensory trail where swim noodles, wind chimes and numerous activities are designed to promote sensory integration. Some classes include grooming and tacking the horse. Cost to the participant is $200 per eight week term and $100 per four week summer term. Tuition Discounts (scholarships) are provided for anyone who cannot afford to pay. <br /><br />Therapeutic riding can provide many physical, emotional, and psychological benefits to riders. Balancing on a constantly moving animal is quite a challenge for anyone but particularly for a rider with reduced motor skills. The movement of the horse closely mimics the hip action of a human being, providing physical benefits such as stimulation of dormant nerves, muscles, and even the vocal chords. The warmth of the horse’s body encourages relaxation of tight, rigid muscles reducing spasticity. Riders feel stronger and more confident as they learn to master the horse. Instructors weave important focus and decision making skills into each lesson. An obstacle course can do wonders for a rider’s processing skills. Social skills are enhanced through interaction with volunteers, staff and fellow riders. <br /><br />Summer Camps are held in June, offering riders an in-depth look at proper horse care. They learn to groom and tack their horses in preparation for their daily lessons, clean stalls and do barn chores. Classroom time includes horse anatomy, simple first aid, how to clean tack and a visit from our Veterinarian. Riders achieve a sense of normalcy and confidence as they care for the horses and equipment. Cost to the participant is $200 for a 4 day camp. Tuition Discounts (scholarships) are provided for anyone who cannot afford to pay.<br /><br />Hippotherapy allows the client to receive Occupational Therapy on the back of a horse. Sessions are conducted one-on-one by a specially trained, licensed therapist who uses the horse’s movement as the primary tool to achieve functional goals. For many individuals poor postural control, decreased coordination, or impaired sensory processing may limit their independence in their home or school environment. By combining the movement of the horse with specially designed activities and movement patterns, the therapist works to target specific muscles and improve sensory processing of the client. The rider is then educated on how to use these improvements to increase independence in functional tasks such as walking, dressing, eating, and work or school activities. Cost to the participant is $65 per 45 minute session. Tuition Discounts (scholarships) are provided for anyone who cannot afford to pay.<br /><br />Horseabilities is a transitional class for riders that are no longer able to use Occupational Therapy, but are not yet ready for the group therapeutic riding. It is supervised by both a therapist and instructor. It utilizes many of the same concepts used in Hippotherapy, but allows for a group experience. Volunteers are specially trained to give correct support and the riders are more carefully monitored for fatigue. Due to the need for both a Therapist and Instructors, cost is $270 for 8 weeks, but tuition discounts (scholarships) are provided for anyone who cannot afford to pay.<br /><br />Unmounted activities are provided for a limited number of participants that are not able to ride any longer due to balance or weight issues. These participants might do barn chores and care for the horse or learn to lead the horse from their wheelchair. We find that they feel an enormous sense of pride in accomplishing these tasks just as they did when they were riding. Our goal is to allow them to ride once again if they are able.

Non-horse-related programs:
None.


Volunteer Opportunities


Volunteers For Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Minimum Age: 14
Volunteers assist the riders directly by providing support as a side-walker or leader of the horse. They assist the rider in follow through of the directions given by the instructor. They should be able to walk or jog for 40 minutes at a time. Just 2-3 hours commitment per week is necessary. Terms consist of 9 weeks in Spring or Fall and 4 weeks during the summer.

Wish List Items


Towing Vehicle
We are in need of a towing vehicle for our horse trailer. The truck we are using is 23 years old and does not have air conditioning or air bags. We generally have to use employee owned vehicles or borrow one to take the horses to shows or events. Our vet is good enough to tow them to his clinic if needed. We are looking for an SUV with a towing package such as an Expedition or a pick up truck.

Riding Mower
Our current riding mower is 9 years old and continually needs repairs. We use it regularly during growing season to keep our 10 acres groomed where our larger tractor cannot fit such as our paddocks and one grass arena.

All-Terrain Vehicle
An ATV would enhance our efficiency and effectiveness in managing our pastures and arena. Currently we use a very aged truck to complete projects that require moving equipment, hay or brush. It is often difficult to access certain areas of the pasture.