Equine Assisted Activities

Equine Assisted Activities (EAA) have been utilized in the United States since the 1950’s and have been identified as beneficial forms of exercise and recreation for people with a wide range of disabilities. EAA combines goals in sports, recreation, therapy and education.

IMG_0454Therapeutic Riding

Classes include basic instruction in grooming, tacking, horsemanship, and riding skills. Students perform mounted exercises, play games, trail ride, and much more.

Equine Animal Activities

Students work with instructors on basic instruction in grooming and horsemanship. Students do not mount a horse or cart in participation, but are provided with general learning about horses and their care.


IMG_0487Lesson Dates/Times

Classes begin in April and run through October. Both day and evening hours are available. All classes are taught by PATH certified instructors.

  • Spring Session – April to May
  • Summer Session – May-July
  • Fall Session –September-October


Individuals interested in registering for WHOA services should contact the Program Director at 815.772.2669 or by email at

WHOA requests that participants complete a registration packet including medical information and releases. New participants may need to attend an orientation and/or evaluation meeting with the instructor prior to enrollment in lessons.

A Thank You Letter To WHOA


Dear Board of Directors,                                                              

On behalf of  Pathway Living Center I would like to thank you for your generosity of the scholarship for one of our consumers. In her words, it was a life-changing experience and one that she will never forget. Through her lessons, she was able to find joy and peace in her life which has been very difficult, especially this year. This was due to the kindness of Tawny, Bev, the many volunteers, the other riders and of course the wonderful horses who are no doubt, true therapists!

I enjoyed being able to watch the lessons and it was easy to see that from the start, she was welcomed, valued and treated with respect by all involved. Please know that the kindness and efforts of all of you have changed her outlook for the future and have made a positive impact in her life.

Because of her wonderful experience with WHOA, she is able to make positive changes in other areas as well. She hopes to continue her lessons in the spring.

Many, many thanks!!

Dorothy Farach  (Activity Coordinator)

Zoe’s Story

Fall 2014

Hi, my name is Zoe. I was born with a birth defect called Spina Bifida (myelomeningocele). Some of the issues I face are loss of sensation to my legs and feet. I walk with forearm crutches and AFO braces on my legs. I have gone through many surgeries to help me stand and walk.

I have been going to WHOA for a few years now. The instructors and volunteers have all become family to me. I miss all of them, including the horses, when we are not in session! I met my best friend, Madie, at WHOA. I love all the things I am learning at WHOA. Mrs. Kay makes it so fun for us, she says I have very good balance on my horse, which is one of the things my mom is very happy to hear. I need all the core strengthening I can get. My physical therapist likes the stretching it gives my legs, it really helps in daily activities, because I tend to get very tight in my hip flexors and hamstrings.

My mom says it’s great to see me having so much fun and learning new things at the same time. While I’m on my horse my mom gets time to talk with other parents that can relate to some of the same challenges we face, and even get some advice and tips on how to handle some of those challenges.

I have always loved animals, and even though I was a little fearful in the beginning, Mrs. Kay, Jesse, my leader, and all the other riders made me feel very comfortable getting on a horse for the first time. Now I wish I could be on a horse all the time! WHOA not only lets us ride but we also learn about the care and needs of the horses we ride. I love brushing them!

All in all, before I started WHOA I used a walker, my legs and core were very weak and I was very shy and quiet. Over the years so much has changed. WHOA has given me confidence and freedom to be me without judgment. I don’t have to worry about being different from everyone else. WHOA has helped me develop a stronger body physically to deal with everyday activities that were once to hard for me. WHOA has given me friends I know will be lifelong!


Zoe with the help of her Mom.

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