Academy of Riding


Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) (TENNESSEE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, founded in 1987. STAR’s mission is to foster personal achievement by providing therapeutic experiences using horse related activities for persons with disabilities or other special challenges. STAR is the oldest therapeutic riding program in Tennessee and the first to achieve premier accreditation from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, (PATH Intl.). We serve individuals from 11 counties in East Tennessee averaging 150 participants per week ages 4 to 60+. We have 12 PATH Intl. certified instructors, over 400 volunteers and 30 horses/ponies.

The individuals we serve have a variety of disabilities which include, but are not limited to; Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, developmental delays, head trauma/brain injury, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, cognitive disorders, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, orthopedic conditions, paralysis, speech impairments, Spina Bifida, stroke, visual impairments, PTSD and Alzheimers.

The recreational aspect of STAR’s program proves invaluable for these special persons who often cannot participate in conventional sports. STAR conducts the following programs:

Therapeutic Riding links individuals that have physical, cognitive or neurological disabilities with horses as a means of gaining therapeutic benefits through learned riding skills and equine interaction. The first half of each lesson focuses on grooming & tacking while the second half is riding. Changing Strides teaches life skills to at-risk youth by developing partnerships with horses. This program provides the tools for at-risk youth to better manage their lives and foster positive relationships while teaching problem solving, appropriate communication, anger management and how to defuse peer dependence. Minis in Motion partners miniature horses and donkeys with local schools, nursing homes, camps and organizations to ignite a spark for learning and personal development. Although small in stature, these animals are big on personality and capture attention wherever they go. Heroes & Horses is an equine assisted activity for veterans with disabilities. Helping the participants are fellow veterans who understand the military mindset thus providing fellowship and support. We do not charge veterans for our services.


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You can find more information about this organization at RIDEASTAR.ORG


In 2016, the TSF Grant Accelerator Award was for $5,500.

In 2015, the TSF Grant Accelerator Award of $7,500 will be used to help fund the Lesson Patron Program designed to keep our fees manageable for our participants during each 10-week session.

In 2014, the TSF Grant Accelerator Award of $7,500 was used towards the Lesson Patron Program.

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