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SunCatcher Therapeutic Riding Academy, Inc., is a nonprofit organization providing equine-assisted therapeutic horsemanship, guided by experienced instructors, that empowers people with disabilities to flourish and thrive. 

We work with all ages (3 yrs to 80 yrs) and with all types of individuals with different abilities.  As a nonprofit, we primarily operate with a devoted group of volunteers and are funded through private and business donations, fundraisers, and grants.  Our participants enjoy working with horses in a variety of ways that serve their specific needs.  These options include groundwork only sessions, mounted riding sessions with a horse lead and/or side-walkers, and independent riding sessions.  A mounting ramp provides safe mounting and dismounting for all riders.

At our location east of Rapid City, SD (near the Rapid City Regional Airport), we have a string of 15 horses, ponies, and mules that are trained to provide therapeutic benefits for our participants.  We use an outdoor arena for our riding sessions along with riding trails that provide a comfortable environment along the creek and through trees.  Our tack building provides a well-organized tack room for storing tack, equipment, and arena supplies along with a classroom for indoor activities and a meeting/lounge area.

SunCatcher is a member center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International,  which promotes equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for special needs people.  Our instructors all follow the PATH standards, and are either PATH-certified or pursuing PATH-certification to ensure a safe and productive experience.  Volunteers receive training to prepare them to assist as horse leads and/or side-walkers.  Privacy is an important part of our program, and our volunteers also receive training to ensure the security of our participants.

Individuals can benefit from equine-assisted therapy in multiple ways, including:


  • improves balance, coordination, strength, and flexibility

  • improves and challenges cognitive abilities

  • enhances social interaction and self-esteem

  • enables connection, courage-building, and joy


In the News!


SunCatcher is a nonprofit organization that exists because of the generous donations of the community, family, and friends of our riders along with funding from businesses, organizations, foundations,  and grants.  It is only with this support, that we are able to succeed.

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