Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding
Last week I traveled to Tennessee to visit my dear friend, Chandler, in Loudon County, Tennessee. While I was there I visited Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding, "STAR" to photography their classes and wonderful program. STAR works with people who have physical, mental and neurological disabilities. With the assistance of staff and volunteers, they are able to use the amazing therapeutic qualities of horses to foster personal achievement.
STAR began as Lynn Petr’s Therapeutic Recreation Master’s thesis project at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The program only started with one horse, and a few volunteers and riders in 1987. Their program grew and developed and later they were donated a 47 acre equestrian facility (where they are now located).
I was completely blown away by all the organization, thought and passion at STAR. I met with their staff and was welcomed to photograph their facility. Their barn, property was immaculate!
Each horse has their own tack, including halters, bridles, and even their own grooming boxes including curry combs, coat, and mane and tail brushes.
Luna, getting curried and brushed.
Before each class, the horses are all brushed thoroughly and then tacked up. Mater enjoyed some good scratches on his belly!
STAR has mounting block and unique lift that helps people to mount the horses with ease. I watched as the volunteers stood steadily on each side of the horse to assist the the rider onto the horses for their class.
During each class, the riders were accompanied by their trainer and volunteers. It made my heart melt to see the riders so excited on their horses trotting and performing some versatility style activities.
After the class had completed my friend, and former volunteer, gave me a tour of the remainder of the barn where I met Lynn, and the rest of the horses. It was such an inspiring day and I am looking forward to the next visit to Shangri-La Therapeutic Riding Academy in a few months!