We at New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding serve a wide variety of participants ages 5 and up to adults.

Here are just some of the special needs served by us:

Behavioral, Emotional, Mental, and Physical Disabilities Served (to name a few):Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Sight Impairment, Mental Retardation, Hearing Impairment, ADD/ADHD, Learning Disorders, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Dandy Walker Syndrome, Paralysis, Scoliosis, Downs Syndrome, Speech Impairment, Developmental Delays or Disability, Spina Bifida, Acquired Brain Injury, Obewitz Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Stroke, Speech/Language Impairments, Dyslexia, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Global Delays, Amputee, Emotional, Behavioral, Multiple Sclerosis, Spina Bifida and much more.

Age Requirements

We accept riders from 5 years old and up to adults. We accept riders with all disabilities, provided there are no contraindications.

Weight Restrictions

In relation to horse health and safety, NBTR imposes a ruling on weight allowed on horses. In general and according to most published pieces a horse is able to carry around 20% of its weight without causing pain or long-lasting ill effects over a period of time. This is more difficult if the weight is unstable (unbalanced). Most of our horses weigh between 800 and 1100 pounds; this means our riders need to be at or below the weight of 220. Exceptions can be made regarding the weight if the rider’s ability to be balanced and in the correct position can help the horse stay sound and stable. Exceptions can be made also if a horse of over 1100 lbs is available and the rider is able to ride independently so volunteer side walkers will not be put in an unsafe position.

Precautions and Contraindications

There are precautions and contraindications for every disability and we evaluate every rider before they are accepted into the program. The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International is our governing body and has researched all disabilities to make therapeutic riding a safe and enjoyable experience for all who are eligible.

Cost per class

$40.00 per 45-minute class per student. This is a discounted rate as the true cost of a therapeutic riding lesson is about $95.00. This means that all students are riding on a scholarship.


The class will normally be held as long as the temperature INSIDE the barn AISLE is above or holding at 40 degrees, even if the outside temperature is below 40 degrees. The class will normally be held as long as the temperature INSIDE the barn AISLE is below or holding at 100 degrees, even if the outside temperature is above 100 degrees. Of course, it is your choice whether to bring your rider out in any extreme weather conditions. Any time you have questions about if classes will be held, PLEASE call the office. The office phone number is 270-777-3600.


Riders unable to pay $40.00 for each class must apply for a scholarship. Contact the Program Director and/or Head Instructor for additional information. The completed application will be submitted to the Board of Directors for approval and you will be notified of their response. NBTR is supported by community donations, NOT by participants’ fees. We ask for your help in collecting additional donations to support our operating budget; an extra $100 per year will really help us fulfill our program needs. Please contact the office as to how you can help us gather these donations.

Pay as you go

If you pay as you go the fee for each lesson is $40.00. We do ask that you pay on the day of the lesson. This is to save on the billing and postage fees. However, if you have an email address, we can email your statement if the balance is past due. Contact the Program Director and/or Head Instructor for additional information.

Rider Packet MASTER 2023

To be accepted into the NBTR Program, a Rider’s Packet must be completed, returned, and reviewed by our Program Director and Head Instructor. If there are further questions concerning a potential rider, our Physical Therapist and Medical Advisor will be consulted. After the rider has been accepted, he or she will be notified, and either a class time will be scheduled or the rider will be put on a waiting list if all classes are filled.


We currently have over 100+ volunteers, and we’re always looking for more!

  • Office Staff
  • Photographers
  • Special Events Assistants
  • Work Crew
  • Horse Feeders
  • Leaders
  • Sidewalkers
  • Jr. Volunteers
  • Plus many more positions!
Who Can Volunteer?

Anyone who enjoys helping others can volunteer. You do not have to have horse experience to volunteer. Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age. To assist with lessons a person must be physically fit to walk approximately an hour and jog occasionally. Volunteers will need to commit 1-2 hours per week during our riding season.

Volunteering is a commitment and we need enough volunteers available for each rider so their ride can be safe and enjoyable. It is paramount that when you commit to a time that this time is kept because if we do not have enough volunteers for the day a rider may not be able to ride.

Do You Need Horse Experience?

No! There are many ways to volunteer at NBTR that do not involve horses.

Volunteer Opportunities

Our major volunteer force is needed to work with our students as sidewalkers and horse leaders. We are also in need of volunteers for the office, fundraising, equipment care, horse schooling, photography and videography and special events.

Please print the volunteer packet forms and bring to the next volunteer orientation.


Junior Volunteer Program

A Jr. Volunteer program is available for children from 9 to 13 years of age. These children should be able to follow instructions and guidance under adult supervision. Duties include keeping the facility clean and tidy, helping instructors and helping to prepare for classes. Horse experience is not required but is very helpful.

Before you can volunteer, you are required to complete a Volunteer Packet and attend an orientation. Orientations are scheduled throughout the season.

I saw a child who couldn’t walk, sit on a horse, laugh and talk. Then ride it through a field of daises and yet he could not walk unaided. I saw a child, no legs below, sit on a horse, and make it go through woods of green and places he had never been to sit and stare, except from a chair. I saw a child who could only crawl, mount a horse and sit up tall. Put it through degrees of paces and laugh at the wonder in our faces. I saw a child born into strife take up and hold the reins of life and that same child was heard to say, “Thank God for showing me the way…”


The Leadership Program at NBTR is a dynamic training workshop for businesses, organizations, and social/civic clubs to enhance and improve leadership skills through specialized training and interactive exercises with horses. The Leadership Program is designed to provide various trainings on self-reflection, conflict resolution, teamwork, and discovering leadership styles. Our unique teaching environment that includes trained therapy horses will help participants build better relationships among colleagues and provide activities that can be used outside of the workplace.


Rheanna Plemons, Ed.D. works in higher education administration. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in organizational leadership, a graduate degree in Library Media Education with a concentration in Educational Technology, and an undergraduate degree in English and Allied Language Arts. She is certified to teach English, Drama, Speech, and Journalism for grades 8-12 in Kentucky. In addition, she teaches courses in organizational leadership at WKU and conducts workshops and trainings for professional organizations. Rheanna has earned two best presenter awards and has presented at numerous conferences on morale, teamwork, resolving conflicts, and best practices for records management in higher education.