Click HERE for 2018 Session information.


*We can accommodate additional groups outside of scheduled class times and days with advance notice.


How much does it cost?

We request $250 for the 28 week Saturday session, which averages out to $10 per riding session. (This includes all activities in addition to regular classes such as parades, picnics, weekly refreshments, and finally our awards dinner held this year on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018. We ask that students commit to a specific number of classes for scheduling purposes. We have scholarships available (through donations by private individuals and/or organizations) to help those who cannot cover all of these costs. The riding session fees are allocated to pay for such items as purchase of equipment for the students and the care of the horses. 

How much time do the students 
spend riding?  

Each session is 30 minutes. We ask that students and volunteers be on time so that riding time for each participant is maximized. A few minutes at the beginning of the session is needed for the instructor to insure that students are safely mounted on their horse. Thereafter each session attempts to give students at least 25 minutes of riding time.

Each class is prudently limited to several students on horses, so that we can give each student the maximum amount of attention possible. We also reasonably attempt to match persons with similar disabilities so that there is a levelized learning experience for the students. Families and therapists are generally present for the classes to further encourage students.

   
What type of exercises do the students perform?
   
Each session is designed to build on the prior session. We attempt to utilize the information provided by physical therapists and/or parents to frame classes and focus on specific areas. There are exercises to stretch muscles and also games that are played to achieve as much mental stimulation as is possible. Finally, we try to make each class not only a learning and healthy experience but a fun one as well.

If you are interested in participating in Best of Friends, what do you have to do?

If interested in participating
please contact Veronica Vansco at (814) 243-0599

If interested in volunteering
please contact Mandy Wilson at (814) 279-6688  
   
We will add your name to our list and send you forms and scheduling information once we have your contact information.
  
For Riders:  There are several forms which MUST be filled out by students prior to being able to ride. These forms will be sent out  upon request of potential participants. These forms provide us with information on the type of disability and include a doctor's certificate indicating that the student is physically able to ride. Riders should be at least 5 years old and diagnosed with a disability. There are no other limits as we work with persons of all ages, disabilities, and sizes.
  
For Volunteers:  The questionnaires not only address your availability but also knowledge of horses since we have people who lead the horses as well as side walkers. The horse leader should have some horse experience as the person in control of the horse. However, horse knowledge is not a requirement to participate in the program. The side walkers are primarily responsible  for assisting with the students during the session. Volunteers should be at least 13 years of age or older. Volunteers can be younger than 13 if they have horse experience. There are no other age limitations except that participation often requires some physical exertion, such as a good bit of walking. 

If you can't volunteer, are there other ways you can help?
   
Best of Friends can always use donations. Donations are tax deductible and help to provide scholarships for students, helmets and riding equipment, as well as helping to defray the costs associated with taking care of the horses (which is a year round expense), such as grain and hay, and farrier and vet costs.

Best of Friends is a member of the Pennsylvania Council on Therapeutic Horsemanship, Pennsylvania Equine Council, and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horseback Riding International.