Great and Small gives therapeutic
horseback riding lessons to children and adults with a wide range of physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities.
We are a partner of Montgomery County’s Child Welfare Services, offering our program free of charge to children who have been removed
from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Great and Small also adopts suitable horses and ponies into the program, some
of whom have themselves come from neglectful homes, or who need a safe and gentle retirement. We also have
a small horse rescue program. Great and Small is a non-profit corporation, and all donations are tax deductible
as allowed by law.
Traumatized children often do not respond well
to traditional forms of “talk” therapy, and we believe that time spent with our horses can instill a sense of
warmth and wonderment that has never been freely offered to many of our children. For children and adults with physical
or cognitive disabilities, mastering the skills of horsemanship improves balance, coordination, reflexes, motor skills and
auditory processing. It also requires determination, patience, personal courage, empathy and creative problem-solving skills.
For all of our riders, the sense of achievement that comes from learning to ride can translate into feelings of joy and self-confidence
we hope will stay with them in all other areas of their lives.
Great and Small provides a gentle home for horses whose futures are
uncertain because of age or infirmity. These animals may no longer be great athletes, but are still magic to our students
learning to ride and care for them. There are more than 82,000 horses in Maryland, and many fall short of their owners’
expectations, sustain career-ending injuries, or simply become too old for hard work. Great and Small pairs these deserving
animals with riders who benefit from the sense of comfort and connection the horses can provide.
Great and Small teaches private and small group lessons at our farm
in Boyds, MD. We also serve the special needs classes of several Montgomery County middle and high schools, and provide
many of our lessons at no or low-cost. In addition, we are also very lucky to have the Great Falls Vaulters
in residence, who have been so generous in teaching the sport of vaulting to some of our students. Commonly
described as "gymnastics on horseback", vaulting promotes balance, strength and confidence for riders of all abilities and
ages, and is really, really fun.