Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center offering new therapy program

Published on Friday, 2 October 2020 14:55


BRISTOL – Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. is now offering Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Shelly Whitlock-Pope, executive director at Shepard Meadows, said the program was developed in part as a response to "new needs" brought on by the covid-19 pandemic.

"Over the past year there has been an increase in the number of inquiries by families on behalf of individuals suffering from anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, depression, PTSD and other mental health concerns," she said. "While we offer several horsemanship programs that are responsive to these needs, we are now launching a partnership with licensed certified mental health practitioners to help those looking for a unique approach."

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is the combined use of horses, a licensed therapist and an equine specialist working with participants to address various psychotherapy treatment goals. It is designed to support individuals in learning about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, then processing feelings, behaviors and patterns with the help of the therapist.

"The services that we provide for individuals and their families within our community is non-traditional, unique and powerful," said Whitlock-Pope. "Out 26-acre farm, 200-year-old farmhouse and 10 therapy horses bring peace and tranquility to those who visit us. We are proud to be able to expand our program during this difficult time."

Whitlock-Pope said that being outdoors in nature instead of sitting in an office across from a therapist is helpful to motivate some to seek out help.

“It makes it interesting for someone who is otherwise hesitating to get help,” she said. “Being outside and being with the horses can help to be a motivator.”

Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. is located at 733 Hill St. in Bristol. For more information, call 860-314-0007 or visit

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Friday, 2 October 2020 14:55. Updated: Friday, 2 October 2020 14:58.