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Our Programs

Individual Lessons

We offer hour long riding lessons at Island Center Farm on Vashon Island, in the Puget Sound between Seattle and Tacoma. Our instructor is a certified PATH International therapeutic riding instructor with an extensive background in Dressage, Hunter/Jumper and Western gaming. Lessons are an hour long and we cover both groundwork horsemanship and riding skills. Lessons are $60. Please contact us if you need to talk about sliding scale or scholarships which can be provided when available.

Education

We offer training for people working with individuals living with Alzheimers and Dementia specifically geared toward how to understand non-verbal communication. These are all groundwork classes and include observation and one-on-one interaction with horses in order to develop skills of watching body language and expression as a primary form of communication.

Stay With Me Volunteer Program

This is a volunteer program for people to sign up to sit with patients and family members who need moral support while in ICU. We provide the training - some of it through groundwork with horses - on coping with grief, holding space while maintaining boundaries, and supportive compassion. After training volunteers do the hospital’s required volunteer orientation then are put on a dispatch list when hospitals call asking for a volunteer for an ICU patient who does not want to be alone.

 

Julia Montagnet

FOUNDER/therapeutic Riding Instructor

Julia’s approach to both training horses and teaching riding is to help students find their own strength, and empower them to have the tools and skills necessary to face whatever obstacle comes into their path.

The first time she was on a horse was when she was three years old. That started a life long obsession with much of her childhood spent taking riding lessons and plotting ways to afford her own horse. Several years ago Julia left a career in accounting in order to pursue her passion for working with horses.   After many years of teaching riding lessons to students living with autism, developmental disabilities and mental illness, Julia decided she would commit to working with students with special needs and became a Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH International in 2017.

Julia completed her mentor-ship training with Cheryl Corrigan at Rainier Therapeutic Riding in Rainier, WA where she had the opportunity to work with veterans healing from PTSD and TBI's.  As a part-time job in order to make ends meet financially, Julia has also worked in the skilled nursing unit of Vashon Community Care, a nursing home on Vashon Island.  This inspired her to start a therapeutic horsemanship program for people living with dementia, and for their caregivers.

Spring Hecht

Licensed Mental Health Councilor

In early 2018 Spring brought her daughter for riding lessons with Julia and as they talked about the healing aspects of riding, found that they had a common goal in mind for providing therapeutic activities for families and teens.

Spring has been a therapist for almost two decades, working with families and teens. She has also been an active member of the Vashon Island School Board.

 

Our Horses

It takes a special horse to be a good therapeutic riding horse. We currently have two horses we use for beginner riding lessons and one horse we used for more advanced lessons. Our lessons horses come from a variety of backgrounds but what they all have in common is their patient, gentle and smart temperament.

SHARAI     Sharai is a 24 year old Arabian who was generously donated to our program by Jennifer Madden. She is a very sweet girl with a great background in dressage who can teach both our brand new beginners and more advanced student s.

SHARAI

Sharai is a 24 year old Arabian who was generously donated to our program by Jennifer Madden. She is a very sweet girl with a great background in dressage who can teach both our brand new beginners and more advanced students.

FOOLS INTEGRITY (JACK)    Jack is a tall quarterhorse, standing at 16.1 hands (a hand equals 4 inches). His first job was as a 3-day eventer with the teen who used to own him. Now he is a sweet and very well-trained lesson horse for our more advanced riders.

FOOLS INTEGRITY (JACK)

Jack is a tall quarterhorse, standing at 16.1 hands (a hand equals 4 inches). His first job was as a 3-day eventer with the teen who used to own him. Now he is a sweet and very well-trained lesson horse for our more advanced riders.

BRASS RINGS GEIR (MR. GEIR)    Mr. Geir is a Norwegian Fjord who began his career as a cart horse, at one point even winning state champion at the Oregon State Fair with his father, Gandolf! He is now one of our favorite lesson horses and known as our giant teddy bear.

BRASS RINGS GEIR (MR. GEIR)

Mr. Geir is a Norwegian Fjord who began his career as a cart horse, at one point even winning state champion at the Oregon State Fair with his father, Gandolf! He is now one of our favorite lesson horses and known as our giant teddy bear.