Chastain Horse Park is on a mission to help Georgians through equine therapy

ATLANTA — Many of you may have heard of Chastain Horse Park, but you might not have realized that it’s a non-profit.

Channel 2′s Heather Catlin tells us about a new mission to help thousands of Georgians.

Catlin visited Chastain Horse Park where Dawson and 25 other horses serve teens and adults with cognitive and emotional disabilities through equine therapy.

“What we do here is incredibly special,” said Trish Gross, executive director of Chastain Horse Park.

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The program conducts over 5,000 therapy sessions annually.

“In our therapeutic program, we conduct about 5,500 therapeutic sessions annually, we fill 12 to 13-hundred volunteer slots every month,” said Gross

The program also serves people who have gone through emotional trauma or diagnosed with lifelong illnesses like multiple sclerosis

“Some of our riders that are significantly on the spectrum might be non-verbal. It’s very difficult for them to build relationships so they come, they build relationships with horses and they build relationships with other people,” said Gross.

Gross wants people to know this program is for anyone near and far, and across all income brackets.


“We subsidize 50% of every single therapeutic session. So why would we do that? Because the correlation between poverty and disability is so very high particularly here in Georgia,” said Gross.

The horse park has been a nonprofit since 1999, and now, it’s going through a $9 million upgrade to help serve the community even more.

The therapy programs have grown over the years, but the facilities are old and have major maintenance issues. There’s no place for the staff and volunteers, so they have to set up offices in stalls meant for horses.

The upgrades will help with this, and also allow for more therapy programs.

“Which is going to have some clinical spaces, educational spaces, a volunteer center, those spaces are going to have heating and air conditioning which is huge for us,” said Gross.

The Chastain Horse Park is also unique because it’s located inside The Perimeter, where space is tight. In fact, it’s one of only two remaining urban horse parks in the nation.

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