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DYC Students Establish Hippotherapy Club

DYC Students Establish Hippotherapy Club

Club will Build Awareness, Recruit Student Volunteers and Raise Money

Buffalo, New York – April 11, 2013 – The D'Youville College Student Association has established the Student Hippotherapy Club to focus on building awareness of hippotherapy as a treatment, recruit and train students to serve as volunteers, and raise funds to benefit hippotherapy interests.

Hippotherapy is a specialized treatment approach in which the movement of a horse is used in physical, occupational and speech therapy to enhance the functional skills of patients with disabilities.

D'Youville College established the LET'S GO! Hippotherapy Program (Lost Elms Therapy Services: Great Opportunities) in 2008 under the leadership of Sarah P. Pictor, PT, DPT, PCS, a clinical associate professor in the Physical Therapy Department.

In its five years of operation, D'Youville was home to the nation's only college-endorsed hippotherapy program, supporting faculty involvement, student volunteerism and encouraging faculty and student research.

In December 2012, D'Youville transitioned administration and management of the program to Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center in East Aurora. The hippotherapy program was renamed Lothlorien TRC Therapy Services.

As incubator of the hippotherapy program, D'Youville began with one child in therapy in 2008 and a small planning grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Since its establishment, the program grew, providing therapy to 40 children in 2012. Over the past two years, in partnership with ChildPro and Erie County, the DYC program added services for early intervention as well as preschool. Additionally, there are now four area school districts that have approved funding for hippotherapy services for their school-aged children. In 2012, eight therapists with American Hippotherapy Association Level I or Level II training were committed to the provision of high-quality treatment for all children. Over 450 volunteer hours were logged and over 40 volunteers went through orientation.

The startup, growth and operation of the LET’S GO! hippotherapy program was made possible by significant grant support from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Children's Guild Foundation, the Fierle Foundation, the Vogt Family Foundation, the Buffalo Bills Youth Foundation and the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation of Variety Club, as well as gifts from individuals, proceeds from events, and earned income.

Dr. Pictor will return to full-time teaching and research related to topics in pediatrics and hippotherapy. She will continue with a volunteer orientation program for Lothlorien TRC Therapy Services through the Student Hippotherapy Club. In addition, the college community will continue its involvement with the program as a clinical practice and research site for students and faculty interested in using hippotherapy as a treatment strategy.

Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center was established in 1983 to provide recreational horsemanship and horseback riding opportunities for individuals with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities. Its mission is to assist individuals to develop their highest potential through therapeutically based equine activities. Lothlorien has been involved with LET’S GO! from the start, providing equestrian training and care.


To schedule hippotherapy services or learn about volunteer opportunities, contact Maggie McCooey at Lothlorien 716-655-1335.

For information about the DYC Hippotherapy Club, contact Brandon Gillett at

For further information about hippotherapy, contact Dr. Sarah Pictor at 716-829-7827 or by email,