Eos was founded in 1992 by now Executive Director Debbie Smith. She learned about therapeutic riding when she was recovering from a back injury and understood how riding can benefit people with physical problems. With a modest amount of money donated by friends and businesses in Millville, PA and a great deal of determination, she began the program with six riders and two ponies that she owned. Eos was also incorporated in that year. In 1993 Eos became an IRS tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We are also registered with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Charitable Organizations.
Eos has experienced steady growth with increasing demand for our special type of therapy. Our more than ten-fold increase in riders has required us to own twelve horses and ponies.The first six years of operation were done outdoors in a riding ring and small outdoor trail. In 1997, Eos was awarded a Columbia County Community Development Block Grant that provided most of the funds to construct an indoor riding arena so that we could operate a longer riding season and even in inclement weather. The 1998 season saw the first operations in the new arena and nearly double the number of riding sessions from the previous year. In 1999, a heated waiting room and accessible rest room facility were added to the arena. Also, that year saw the increase in the number of riding sessions by another fifty percent over 1998. Eos now provides over 3,000 therapeutic riding sessions annually to 105 riders. This growth has been possible through the hard work and devotion of hundreds of people, the vast majority of whom labor as volunteers, as well as generous contributors.
Riders participate in weekly forty-five minute therapeutic riding sessions in a season that runs from March into November. Each rider is individually supervised by an instructor, trained through the Council for Education and Certification in Therapeutic Horsemanship, and assisted by up to three other volunteers. Each riding session is tailored for the needs and abilities of the rider. For example, some riders must have a back rider for support, while others are independent riders. Each riding session also includes various games and skill activities while on horseback to enhance balance, eye-hand coordination, strength and a variety of other abilities. Riders must be approved by their physician for participation. Additionally, we ask physicians and therapists to give us input about the therapeutic goals of the rider and to suggest activities to include or exclude from the riders’ programs.
The Center is located at Crystal Creek Acres, a twelve acre farm four miles northwest of Bloomsburg, PA. Eos Therapeutic Riding Stable Center accommodates our riders with an indoor riding arena, Kellen’s Place, with waiting area and stable facilities. The arena also includes appropriate ramps and mounting platforms for safely mounting and dismounting riders. We even have a motorized lift system that can take a rider directly from wheelchair to horseback. We also use an outside wooded trail and outdoor riding arena for some riders. Both the trail and the indoor riding arena contain various activity centers and games that are used to promote coordination, task completion and upper body strength. Other facilities available to Eos include a large outdoor riding ring.