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About Us

History of HETRA

Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy was started in 1989 by Steve and Janet Henthorn of Omaha, Nebraska. The program started with one student, one horse and three volunteers. We have grown significantly over the last 23 years, we now have 16 wonderful therapy horses, 11 PATH certified instructors, and over 100 students. We also offer services in Therapeutic Riding, Hippotherapy, Equine Services for Heroes and Therapeutic Carriage Driving. HETRA is a non-profit 501c3 organization, and is currently the only PATH Premier Accredited Therapeutic Riding center in Nebraska!

HETRA serves a variety of clients including children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, brain tumors, head or spinal cord injuries, visual impairment, autism, developmental delays and strokes. In 2011 HETRA served 129 riders (both children and adults) per week and our goal is to continue to expand the program this year.


Some of HETRA’s first students, Kristin, KC and Amanda

For the last several years, HETRA volunteers have donated over 10,000 volunteer hours per year.  Without our dedicated volunteers we could not provide services to approximately 100 clients each week.  HETRA’s sidewalkers find their job very rewarding in many ways.  Not only are they able to work hands on with the HETRA clients, but they also receive a physical workout walking in the arena footing during the therapy sessions.  Sessions depend on the volunteers in the arena, but the volunteers who are working outside the arena play a great role also.  Instructors rely on individuals to groom and tack the horses, care for the barn, stalls, tack, and toys.   Individuals of all ability levels have a job that is instrumental to making a session run smoothly.

HETRA looks back on a history of growth and achieving many amazing goals.  We look forward to our future with great hope and excitement for what is to come.  We have many long term goals including our long term vision to own our own facility.