Founded in 1992, SPURS is one of the oldest and largest therapeutic horseback riding centers in South Dakota. It was started by a group of community-minded folks and incorporated as a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Founding members included horse owners Pat and Jim Bishop and Vi Stoia. Shortly after the planning began, Jack Thompson joined the board. His commitment to see SPURS succeed has helped the program to become what it is today. Using the Bishop farm as a resource, they set out to share the joy of riding for the benefit of all.
Pat had ideas of transforming her farm into a therapeutic riding center. She invested countless hours and months planning, preparing and training to get their vision approved by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), which accredits therapeutic riding programs across the country. She herself became a certified instructor, recognizing the seriousness and professionalism required for working with horses, kids and special needs.
Early plans called for a modern complex dedicated to therapeutic riding and instructor training, an indoor arena, and meeting and physical therapy facilities. Funding would come from the founding member’s own assets as well as numerous grants and fundraising efforts. When the program officially kicked off, Pat’s first session included only a few horses, a handful of riders and about a dozen volunteers. The success of the program quickly drew the attention of local schools, universities, and organizations across South Dakota.
In 1997 SPURS moved to its current location at 1006 130th Street, one mile north of Holgate Middle School at the intersection of 130th Street (County Highway 13) and Dakota Street. The 40-acre facility has grown into one of the best-equipped therapeutic riding centers in the region.
WHO DOES SPURS SERVE?
Each year over 200 individuals experience the challenges and rewards of SPURS services. SPURS serves children and adults with a wide range of special needs, such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays, sensory integration disorder, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, visual impairment, mental health issues and behavioral challenges.
Physicians, therapists, counselors, teachers and friends refer individuals to SPURS. Participants come to SPURS as individuals, special needs school groups, adult therapy providers, or other groups. Each year, SPURS also helps many individuals experience the joy of horseback riding for their first time by providing therapy to individuals new to horses and riding.
OUR FACILITIES AND ANIMALS
Our current facility is owned by SPURS Corporation and includes: an office, a volunteer center, an 80’ x 200’ indoor riding arena with an attached 8-horse stall barn and observation room, a feed shed, an 80’ x 120’ outdoor riding arena and acres of open pastures.