Therapeutic Riding


Adults and children with special needs often find themselves isolated and rejected. Weekly therapeutic riding lessons stimulate conversation and interaction with people and with one special horse. The instructor creates each lesson with equestrian objectives in mind but adapts them to better meet the specific needs of each individual, frequently with the collaboration of social services, educational and health care professionals.

The lives of people diagnosed with ADHD, PTSD, ODD, autism spectrum, depression and other psychological or cognitive disorders, are impacted on a daily basis. Therapeutic riding lessons, along with other traditional therapies, have been scientifically proven to provide lasting benefits such as lower stress levels and increased concentration. The physical contact with the horse, the rhythm of its movement, the concentration required to guide the horse and perform specific tasks all contribute to help a rider feel empowered, but also requires him / her to communicate with others and with a living animal that has behavioral and emotional needs of its own.

Living with a physical disability often limits a person’s opportunity to participate in sports. Those limitations are put aside for a moment while riding a horse. Riders get to experience freedom and independence as they ride a thousand-pound animal by themselves while towering over people on the ground. The movement of the horse engages the same muscles required in the human walk, thereby enhancing muscle tone, coordination and balance. Parkside Ranch is well stocked with a range of specialty equipment to make each client feel comfortable and safe, experiencing therapeutic riding lessons with dignity and pure joy.


  • Programs for children / families / adults / elderly
  • Collaboration with the local social services (CLSC, hospitals, Foundations)
  • Services offered year round
  • Substantial volunteer involvement
  • Three CanTRA certified instructors on staff


Client Testimonials

The reality: first-hand response to Parkside’s therapeutic riding services as told by the families of clients and produced by La Fondation de l’Hôpital de Memphrémagog (www.fondationhopitalmagog.org).

I am 38 years old and I began Therapeutic Riding classes a year and a half ago. At the time I was recovering for a severe long term burn out.

Taking care of a horse, going through all the grooming and preparatory steps prior to riding so that the horse was properly prepared, curiously made me aware that I needed to be careful to pay attention to myself, to take better care of myself. I realized I needed to not overlook my fundamental needs in order that my daily life is fulfilling.

In addition to learning how to ride properly, I learned to be a little more assertive in my interpersonal relationships. I needed to be clear in my directives with the horse, set limits at the right time and the right place. I realized I could do the same thing in my relationships with others, so that I don’t find myself heading in the wrong direction where I could put myself in danger. Once again, in order that I could be well in my day-to-day life and feel safe.

Learning to ride, where I practically started from zero, allowed me to grow in my self-confidence and self-esteem. Moving from one skill to another is extremely rewarding, successfully completing each new maneuver was a victory each time.

Thank you for all that therapeutic riding has given me and continues to give me to this day.
Isabelle Leblanc
I would like to share about my experience at Parkside Ranch. Jean-Christophe, that I adopted when he was 2-1/2 years old, has muscular dystrophy and autism, ADHD with severe oppositional disorder.

When my son began therapeutic riding in 2015, he became completely transformed! With Michael, his instructor, he displayed no oppositional behavior and this positive effect lasted over 24 hours at home.

Michael generously gave freely of his time. Over time, therapeutic riding allowed my son to open his heart and he became affectionate towards us. Today, Jean-Christophe is 10 years old and his attachment issues are completed resolved. It truly is a miracle!

A HUGE THANK YOU to Michael and the entire team at Parkside Ranch
Chantal Harpin
This letter is a thank you for and a recognition of the professionalism and competency of the staff at Parkside Ranch. All within a beautiful rustic setting surrounded by wonderful horses.

My daughter Tamara is a 31-year-old young woman with an intellectual handicap and suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

The approach of Parkside Ranch and the therapeutic riding program allowed her to experience exceptional results. Her confidence in herself and others as well as her physical and emotional stability improved which has assisted her in dealing with her bouts of anxiety.

So I want to thank you all and congratulate you on your attentiveness and the wonderful work of the entire staff and volunteers and the well-being it brought to my daughter Tamara. We are looking forward to continuing this program together in the future.

Thank you again!
Céline Larue

The future:


For over 50 years Parkside Ranch’s focus of sharing God’s love in practical ways and serving our community has evolved through a combination of traditional core camp activity enhancements and development of new initiatives. Over the past 10 years Parkside’s equestrian services, initially through a horse mentoring program, have drawn significant interest from local schools and social services organizations. Parkside’s role as a key contributor to meeting the needs the vulnerable members of our community has been validated by a letter of support from the Director and many of the social workers of the local social services organization (CLSC).

The growth in demand from the community for equestrian services has led Parkside Ranch to invest further in an expansion of the existing therapeutic riding indoor arena that was built in 2016, enabling us to enhance our contribution to the well-being of people in need. As a first step in response to that leading, three of our staff went through the 2-year process of becoming CanTRA (Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association) certified instructors and they received their certification in February 2020. With the planned expansion of our arena, we believe that the Parkside’s equestrian center, known as “Turning Point”, will become a hub in our community in delivering programs to help meet the challenges facing a wide cross section of our society. Turning Point’s therapeutic riding programs can be instrumental in helping people deal with mental, physical and emotional health challenges, as we share the love of God in a very practical way.

There are a number of factors that uniquely position Parkside Ranch to make a real difference in the holistic well-being of our community, including:

  • Our well-established reputation within the community that we genuinely care for the people we serve and interact with, and that we are respectful of the broad range of our clients’ and campers’ backgrounds, beliefs and cultures.
  • Our programs have over the years had a significant measurable impact on people’s lives.
  • The development of our therapeutic riding program has excellent synergies with Parkside’s other traditional areas of community service and engagement.
  • There is very good base of volunteers in our area with equestrian knowledge and expertise.




Turning Point Equestrian Center

The vision behind the development of Parkside Ranch’s Turning Point equestrian centre is to help provide healing and purpose to vulnerable members of our community, as a practical expression of God’s love.  The therapeutic riding programs of the equestrian center will operate concurrently with but independently of Parkside Ranch’s traditional camping and event centre programming.

The Turning Point’s therapeutic riding programs are designed to holistically provide physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health benefits, working in partnership with community health and social services leaders. Our focus is on helping build a solid foundation for a healthy family unit, offering programs that meet the needs of vulnerable children, parents and grandparents. A healthy society is built on a healthy family unit.

Program Initiatives To Deliver the Vision:

Short to Medium Term, Based on Construction of the Equestrian Centre (2023-24):

  • Expansion of Turning Point’s year-round therapeutic riding services capacity and service quality capabilities, in response to the growing needs of the community and local social services organization.
  • Development of physical rehabilitation programming through hippotherapy.
  • Development of therapeutic riding programs specifically tailored for the elderly.

Longer Term (2024 and beyond):

  • Provide internship programs of 6 / 12 / 18 months, offering candidates interested in equestrian-based community services the opportunity to be trained and certified in therapeutic riding.
  • Develop and deliver leadership training and team building programs for youth.
  • Provide a respite care resource for families with special needs children.
  • Develop an alternative education center for children with learning difficulties, working with local social services and educational resources.


Orford (QC) : Convenient access to major population centres and highways at the foot of Mont Orford, surrounded by beautiful natural forest and lakes.

With a focus on the convenience and comfort of our Therapeutic Riding clients, the Turning Point therapeutic riding equestrian center offers an efficient fully accessible layout. From the single level entry into reception and circulation throughout the main facility and arena, to the lift access to the second level, client well‐being is always top‐of‐mind.



Designed For Both Horse and Rider

The brightly lit heated Turning Point arena features an abundance of natural light, natural wood wall paneling and natural sand footing.

The result: optimized horse and rider comfort and maximum flexibility in Therapeutic Riding program configuration to meet the full range of our clients’ individual needs.

Ambiance – Equine Style!

A secure, healthy and stress‐free living environment for the Turning Point’s horses is key to their performance in supporting our clients’ Therapeutic Riding needs. The Turning Point stable configuration optimizes both horse care and access by staff, clients and boarders.


The horse shower stalls are designed to provide a well‐lit, safe and secure environment for our staff and guests to provide horse care.


Security, equipment maintenance efficiency and ease of access are ensured by the design and furnishing of the Turning Point tack rooms.

A Warm Turning Point Welcome!

Clients and guests are welcomed by a bright and airy reception area leading directly into the main Turning Point training center or horse stable, including a conveniently located accessible washroom and lift access to the stable level.


Enjoy a peaceful moment in the warm intimate reception sitting area.


Not all Turning Point learning happens in the arena or while mounted on a horse!

Modern fully featured multi‐media training rooms ensure distraction‐free training flexibility for clients, client families and staff.

In addition to the classroom‐style learning facility, the Turning Point offers a meeting environment ideally suited to more formal program, therapy and strategic planning sessions.