Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii – Kona (THH-Kona) is a PATH International Premier Accredited Center located on Hawaii Island in West Hawaii. PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) sets high standards for safety, professionalism, administration, animal care and maintenance, and facility care and maintenance. Accreditation is a voluntary process of peer review to insure that each accredited program is following best industry standards and we are proud of the fact that we were accredited in 2013.
THH-Kona is one of three therapeutic riding programs operated by THH. The main branch is located at the Waimanalo Polo Grounds on Oahu. Headed by our Executive Director, Dana Vennen, the Waimanalo program has its own facility and horses and operates 7 days a week. They have 5 PATH registered instructors, including one master level instructor. THH-Honokaa operates at Iolani Stables in Honokaa and is headed by Michele Kinoshita. (click here to go to THH-Waimanalo)
THH-Kona programs consists of group mounted sessions which are held on Sunday mornings at Horseplay Equestrian Center for children and adults with special needs from age 3 and up. Groups consist of 3-4 riders. Riders in our mounted program improve their balance, build core strength, increase flexibility, learn new fine and gross motor skills all while learning riding skills. Our program also focuses on increasing listening and attention skills, following directions, learning important social skills such as communication, making good choices, and taking turns. Educational activities are interwoven into our activities to teach such basic skills as shapes, colors, letter recognition, counting and math skills and directional and dimensional concepts.
Once our riders are able to maintain their balance on the horse and are beginning to be able to control the horse off the leadline, and if they have learned to pay attention to and follow directions from their instructor, they can move into our advanced rider program where they will receive a private riding lesson. This represents a huge boost in self confidence for our riders and gives them a goal to strive for.
Through our sibling program, we are able to offer siblings of special needs participants an opportunity to take private lessons at the same time as their brother or sister is participating in our group lessons. This has helped to develop a common interest between siblings around which bonding can occur. There are not a lot of activities in our community that can include both a child with special needs and typically developing children and this program has filled a need for many of our families.
Miniature Horse Visiting Program
Our three miniature horses are available to make visits to preschools, special education classes, nursing homes, senior centers, day care centers for developmentally disabled adults, and other agencies or programs serving the community. They are small enough (and they are house-broken) to go inside and interact with those who are unable to get outside. They bring warmth and companionship that only animals can provide. Two of our minis also drive carts and are available to provide cart rides for children’s birthday parties, weddings, or other special events. (click here for more info)
Parties and community events
Our miniature horses are available to provide cart rides at your child’s birthday party, weddings, and other special events. They have also appeared at community events such as Ho’olauleas, May Day celebrations, parades, community health fairs, etc.
The rate for private birthday parties or other private events is $200/hour.