After more than 30 years of relying solely on privately owned farms in Connecticut and New York to provide our services to people with special needs, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding opened our own facility in Brewster, N.Y., in the fall of 2007. The purchase of the farm was made possible by an extraordinarily generous donor who gave Pegasus $2.1 million to turn a decades-long dream of owning our own facility into a reality.
As soon as our boxes were unpacked, we set our sights on accomplishing a number of short-term goals. We converted the former veterinary facility into a space that better accommodated the needs of our staff and horses, developed an outdoor riding ring, and began work on our sensory riding trail.
The program got up and running quickly at Pegasus Farm, and our first group of participants began taking lessons in the fall of 2007. The positive impact owning our own facility had on our programs was immediate: instructors could run sessions six days a week, at various times of the day, and for more weeks each season. In addition, our hardworking herd benefited from an expanded pasture area and a more natural living environment, and their extended periods of turnout allow them to disconnect from their challenging work as therapeutic partners and simply be horses.
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. For more on the sensory trail, click here.
As we enhance our programs and broaden our reach, through the extraordinary generosity of our donors we continue to make improvements to Pegasus Farm to ensure we are meeting the needs of our participants. In the fall of 2015, we received a transformative gift from the family of a former Pegasus volunteer. Michele “Shelly” Arnhold was a lifelong horse enthusiast and preschool teacher who joined our Pegasus community when she began volunteering at our Corgi Hollow chapter in Newtown, Connecticut. Through The Arnhold Foundation, Shelly’s family has made a $2 million memorial gift to build The Michele Arnhold Education Center at Pegasus Farm and help found an endowment fund for the future of Pegasus.
The Michele Arnhold Education Center will be built at the site of the original barn at Pegasus Farm, which was taken down in early February 2016. Construction began in April 2016, and we anticipate its completion in early 2017. For further information about The Michele Arnhold Education Center, click here.
Since its purchase in 2007, Pegasus Farm has evolved and grown to help accommodate the inspirational people we serve. We welcome visitors anytime. Just contact us at (845) 669-8235 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to arrange a tour.