Today we have three chapters located throughout Putnam and Fairfield counties. Our permanent location spreads across 22 acres in Brewster, New York, and is the home to our horses, barn, riding arena, paddocks, sensory trail and sensory paddock.
In the fall of 1974, a small group of equestrian women began exploring the effectiveness of therapeutic riding. In September 1975, the first Pegasus therapeutic riding sessions began at Ox Ridge Hunt Club in Darien, Connecticut.
Today Pegasus is a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center with three chapters throughout Putnam and Fairfield counties, including Pegasus Farm, our 20-acre permanent facility in Brewster, N.Y. PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) establishes industry standards for program safety, instructor training and certification, and insurance provisions.
Our PATH-certified instructors, physical therapists, occupational therapists and licensed educators provide equine-assisted activities to people with special needs and individuals at risk, including disadvantaged youth, trauma survivors and adults with developmental disabilities.
The Arnhold Foundation, the family of former Pegasus volunteer Michele Arnhold donated $2 million to build the Michele Arnhold Education Center in Shelly’s memory. Pegasus opened the Michele Arnhold Education Center in 2017 to provide a beautiful new home for our therapeutic horses and a welcoming educational space for our participant families, volunteers, staff and guests.
With our foundation firmly in place, we began working toward our long-term goal of building a riding arena that would make it possible to run our programs year-round. In the summer of 2008, we received approval for the construction of a covered outdoor arena and several improvements to our facilities and property. Thanks to the generosity of a longtime rider family whose $1 million gift made the project possible, construction was completed just before the start of the new year, and the Ann Pinkerton Riding Arena was first used for program in the spring of 2009.
We also began making improvements to our sensory trail, which winds through approximately 7 wooded acres of our farm. The sensory trail has engaged many a horse and student as they navigate the peaceful, shady pathways and interact with the various sensory stations along the trail. Designed to provide visual, auditory and tactile stimulation, the trail immerses our participants in a completely different environment than a traditional riding ring. The availability of the contrasting manmade and natural venues at Pegasus Farm allows our instructors to customize lessons even further and keep the students motivated through the variety of experiences they are able to introduce.
Our horses are the heart of our mission. They are the true miracle workers and the silent stars of the Pegasus show. We entrust them with the safety of our very special participants, and in return, they deserve the best care possible.