B.E.A.T. Riding Center, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists to provide physically, mentally and emotionally challenged individuals an opportunity for emotional and physical growth through horsemanship. BEAT’s home is at Horsin-A-Round Stables 20 miles west of Portland in Banks, Oregon.
Phyllis Herinckx and Jackie Hopper founded BEAT in 1997 when they were inspired by the dramatic physical and cognitive improvements made by Bradley, a student with cerebral palsy and learning impairments, through horse back riding. Phyllis and Jackie wanted to start a program that could help others reap the benefits from therapeutic riding.
Today BEAT serves over 30 disabled riders each week, including riders from Portland and all over Washington County. We also provide instruction to groups from the YWCA, Head Start and the school districts of Forest Grove, Beaverton and Hillsboro. Riders at BEAT include individuals with a wide range of disabilities including down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy. BEAT is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) and abides by the association’s guidelines for safety and operation.
Our primary funding source is individual contributions. As a federally tax-exempt charitable organization, most of the donations that support BEAT are tax-deductible. We currently have three instructors. One of our instructors is certified by PATH and two are in training. The PATH certification process tests the applicant’s knowledge and skills in the areas of equine management, horsemanship, instruction, teaching methodology and disabilities. The “tools” of the BEAT program are highly trained and carefully chosen horses and ponies.
The riders and instructors of BEAT rely on volunteers to make the center a success. Horse experience is needed to lead horses, but not for most of the other duties.