This year BREC’s Farr Park Equestrian Center’s Hearts and Hooves therapeutic riding program will help those age 6 and up with any physical or mental disability grow their confidence in social settings, improve physically with balance, stability and strength and take part in a therapeutic setting.

Beginning Jan. 27, the Hearts and Hooves therapeutic riding program returns with four six-week sessions, on Mondays at 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. Each six-week session is $120 for East Baton Rouge Parish residents and $144 for out-of-parish residents, with scholarships available.

Hearts and Hooves offers horseback riding experiences to children and adults with disabilities to help enrich the everyday lives of these participants by providing a unique social and physical opportunity, according to a news release. The instructors direct the riders in horsemanship, communication, safety, handling and accomplishing goals.

Paul Melancon, father of one five-year returning participant explains, “It (Hearts and Hooves) allows him to be himself and he looks forward to coming out every week and interact with the instructors, volunteers and horses. It gives us another venue to engage him in the community instead of being home… we look for those opportunities for him to get out and engage. It’s another entity that if it wasn’t subsidized by BREC, in a great facility, a lot of people wouldn’t be able to participate. It allows a cost-efficient way to engage in different therapy opportunities we might not be able to have my son participate in.”

Hearts and Hooves Therapeutic Riding Program is another opportunity for those individuals interested in volunteering in the community. Volunteers are taught beginner instructions such as how to care for the horses, choosing a saddle based on the rider’s specific needs and ways to interact with the rider during the developmental games and obstacles. Previous horsemanship experience is not required.

For more information or to sign up to volunteer visit

The 2020 Hearts and Hooves sessions are:

  • Session 1: Jan. 27-March 2
  • Session 2: March 16-April 20
  • Session 3: Sept. 14-Oct. 19
  • Session 4: Oct. 26-Nov. 30

To register as a participant or for more information on this program, email Forrest Richards at or call (225) 769-7805.