Frequently Asked Questions

Joining the Program

How do I, or someone I love, join the EQUI-KIDS program?

The process to become an EQUI-KIDS participant involves many steps. It is important to us that all who participate have the potential to benefit from our services, so we want to be sure each individual is a good fit. The following is the step-by-step process for getting involved with the program:

1. Contact Kathy Chitwood, Program Director. Reach her by email at or call her at 757.721.7350. Provide her with information detailing the age, diagnosis (medical and/or mental health) and physical limitations of the prospective participant.

2. Receive feedback. The Program Director will contact you by phone or email to discuss the information you’ve provided, ask for further details and determine if our programs are likely to benefit the prospective participant.

3. Schedule Assessment. If the Program Director believes our services can benefit the prospective participant, she will schedule an assessment. During the assessment, the prospective participant and family members/caretaker will meet with a PATH-registered instructor to determine which of our programs would be appropriate. Visitors will also go for a facility tour, meet the horses (no riding), and discuss and review the registration process and materials.

4. Complete Registration Packet. A registration packet will be provided at the assessment, which must be submitted annually. It includes the following documents:

  • Participant Application

  • Participant Medical History & Physician Statement

  • Authorization for Emergency Medical Treatment

  • Lesson/Camp Policies & Procedures

  • Participant Goals & Expectations

  • Photograph & Media Release

  • Participant Release Agreement

5. Processing of registration forms. The Registration Packet will be reviewed and program opening availability will be determined. EQUI-KIDS can provide services to a maximum of 110 participants per week. If no openings are currently available, participants will be placed on the waitlist.

6. Scheduling. The Program Director will send a signup form to determine the rider’s availability.

How long does it take to join the program?

The average time between contacting our Program Director and participating in the first lesson is two months. This can vary based on the timeliness of submitted documents, lesson availability, rider’s schedule, etc.

Can anyone come to EQUI-KIDS and ride a horse?

EQUI-KIDS does not offer pony rides to the general public. We offer only therapeutic riding and equine-assisted activities to individuals with special needs. 

Therapeutic Riding Services

How many sessions do you have per year?

We provide services all year round. All of our sessions are six weeks, with the exception of our holiday session, which runs two weeks. Our sessions are as follows:

  • Fall

  • Winter

  • Holiday

  • Spring

  • Summer

How many riding lessons are included in a session?

Participants will ride one time a week during their assigned session.

Will others be riding during the lesson?

This depends on the type of lesson in which a participant is enrolled. We offer private lessons (1 participant), semi-private lessons (2 participants) and group lessons (3-4 participants).

How long is a riding lesson?

Private lessons are 30 minutes, semi-private lessons are 45 minutes and group lessons are 55 minutes.

Costs & Fees

What do your services cost?

Services are offered at a nominal fee for our participants. We cover a majority of the costs for our participants in order to make therapeutic riding accessible to as many individuals as possible. The true cost of therapeutic riding services ranges $170 to $400 per service hour, but EQUI-KIDS charges only a fraction of that. Costs vary based on the type of lesson (private, semi-private or group).

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Individual and group sessions with a Licensed Professional Counselor are available. Please call for rates and availability. Insurance may cover these services.

Will my insurance cover your services?

Our equine-assisted psychotherapy sessions may be covered by some insurance providers. All other services are provided for a nominal fee in order to make them accessible to everyone who may benefit from them.

What if I can’t afford the fees associated with your programs?

We understand applicants may find it difficult to cover the cost of their lessons. We have a scholarship program that may assist in easing financial burdens. Each year we raise scholarship funds in an effort to help our participants and their families to the extent that we are able to do so. EQUI-KIDS will do our best to award funding for all sessions to those who qualify; however, the funds used for scholarships are donated and fluctuate from one session to the next. 


What types of volunteer opportunities do you have?

We offer many chances to volunteer throughout the year, including program positions on a regular basis and some special events. Visit the volunteer opportunities page for more information.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

All volunteers must be 14 years of age or older. To assist with our veterans program, volunteers must be 21 and older.

Do I need training to become a volunteer?

Volunteers must attend one of our orientation programs, which are held monthly. During this orientation, potential volunteers will learn about the different opportunities we offer and receive their Volunteer Application Packet. For upcoming orientation dates, see our event calendar.

Who can I contact for more information about volunteering?

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 757.721.7350 or

Sponsor a Horse

Thank you for your generous contribution.

    (The sponsor name listed above will be used for the stall plaque and custom halter plate)

    (Please note that horse sponsorship requests will be honored in the order donations are received and are subject to change due to the retirement of a horse or other circumstances, which we will do our best to communicate to you in real time)

    CheckCredit Card (one-time payment of $5,000)Credit Card (monthly installments of $416.67)


    If you have opted to pay by check, please mail it to:

    EQUI-KIDS Horse Sponsorship Program
    Attention: Victoria Arboneaux

    2626 Heritage Park Drive

    Virginia Beach, VA 23456

    We will be in touch soon to confirm your payment method and other sponsorship details.