Therapeutic Riding at Homestead Stables

David Smeltzer, Heritage president and CEO, announced that therapeutic riding will now be offered at Homestead Stables, a Heritage full service equestrian center, in Gerry, NY.

Smeltzer stated, “We are excited to offer this new type of equine therapy at Homestead Stables. Since announcing the development of the stables, we have consistently been asked if this service would be provided. We consider it a privilege to offer this service to the greater Chautauqua County community. In addition to those who will benefit directly from the therapy, this new program will provide many rewarding opportunities for volunteers to become involved in working with horses and those we will be serving.”

The new Homestead Stables therapeutic riding program, officially launched in November 2019, is led by Scott Limberg, certified therapeutic riding instructor through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). Instructors and participants in the program will work to enrich the life of members of the differently-abled community. Individuals of all ages can benefit from this therapeutic process, including those with physical disabilities, congenital birth defects, neurological issues, traumatic and acquired brain injuries, autism, recovering veterans, and more.

Heather Payne, Homestead Stables manager, added, “We have been looking forward to adding therapeutic riding to our list of services that we offer and couldn’t be more excited to begin this wonderful new program. Through carefully planned lessons, riders learn balance, coordination, and self-assurance, as well as improving social skills and sensory stimulation. The benefits of therapeutic riding have been acknowledged for a long time; working with horses can have a major physical and emotional impact on people.”

No stranger to horses as therapeutic tools, Homestead Stables began offering non-riding based Equine Assisted Therapy in late 2018 through a partnership with Dawn Samuelson and the N.E.I.G.H. (National Equine Institute of Growth through Healing) program. N.E.I.G.H. works to empower individuals by equipping them with the tools necessary to improve communication, confidence, respect, and goal setting, using the emotional relationship between horses and humans as a tool in instruction in working with issues such as PTSD and emotional trauma.

In addition to now offering a full slate of equestrian therapy services, Homestead Stables is also offering the opportunity to volunteer as a part of the therapeutic riding program. Qualified volunteers may earn horse experience and enjoy the rewarding time spent by helping the differently-abled community, or giving back to our honorable veterans, free of charge. Those interested in participating as a volunteer may call (716) 988-0063.

Heritage and Homestead Stables will host its second annual “Homestead for the Holidays” event on Saturday, December 14, from 12:30pm-4:30pm at Homestead Stables (4633 Damon Hill Road, Gerry, NY). Free and open to the public, the event will feature horse drawn carriage rides, children’s activities, Santa & Mrs. Claus, a therapeutic riding demonstration, entertainment, refreshments, home tours of their vibrant senior living community, The Homestead, and special presentations by noted equestrian Luke Gingerich.

Heritage Ministries was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations in the states of Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. The Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, and lessons. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs.

For more information on Heritage Ministries and Homestead Stables, please visit or