Grant Partner of the Week #16 | STAR





About STAR and its founder



Lynn Petr, founder of Shangri-La Therapeutic Riding Academy (STAR), is proof that obtaining an advanced degree and putting it to work in the community can make a difference – a BIG difference!  STAR began as her 1987 thesis for her Therapeutic Recreation Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The focus of the thesis and its subsequent implementation was how to use horses in therapeutic ways that benefited people with special needs. The STAR program started with five riders, one horse, three volunteers and Lynn as the sole employee.

Today, STAR’s multitude of horses, volunteers and staff work with individuals, age four to seniors, with physical, mental and neurological disabilities and those considered at-risk. The mission of STAR is to foster personal achievement by providing therapeutic experiences using horse-related activities. Over 235 people are served each year by one of four different STAR programs.

One of those programs is the Therapeutic Riding program, which is making life differences for children such as Molly.




About Molly, as told by her mother Amanda



No one knows a daughter like her mother. Despite that, Molly’s mother Amanda still was unexpectedly astounded at what her daughter achieved at STAR. She had hoped therapeutic riding would be helpful to her little girl, but she couldn’t imagine how helpful it would be! Amanda shares:





for all both children and adults




Molly is only one of many who are helped by STAR’s Therapeutic Riding program, which is designed to meet the specific needs of each participant. It may include grooming, saddling, and riding skills, or it may be more passive in nature where the movement of the horse relaxes a client’s tight muscles, increases range of motion, and improves trunk stability and balance.  Balance, coordination and muscle tone improve through exercises done on horseback. Psychological benefits include increased independence, motivation and self-control. As with Molly, vocabulary developments and subsequent learning contribute to cognitive gains. Self esteem soars!  The recreational aspects of STAR’s program prove invaluable for these special people who normally cannot participate in conventional sports or activities.


“From small acorns, grow mighty oaks.”


This adage proves true for Shangri–La Therapeutic Riding Academy as it moved from a thesis idea to an invaluable nonprofit. The adage is second only to the saying “Never look a gift horse in the mouth” since generous donors gave STAR their second equestrian location, complete with buildings, land, and equipment, and providing them the opportunity to expand their reach into the community and change more lives.






For more information about STAR visit: |  FB @rideatstar | Twitter @rideatstar 



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