HorseAbility began in 1993 when founder Kathleen (Katie) Kilcommons McGowan lent her horse to a friend and physical therapist who used hippotherapy as a treatment modality for a child with cerebral palsy.
When Katie saw the child’s physical and emotional connection with the animal and how her treatment accelerated through the use of the horse, Katie knew she had found her calling. Combining her education, her love of children, and her relationship with horses, she forged her own trail to start this wonderful organization.
HorseAbility converted from a sole proprietorship to a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) status in 2001. Since that time, HorseAbility has significantly increased its operations and expanded its organizational structure. We enjoy the distinction of being the only PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers on Long Island. To achieve Premier Accreditation from PATH the program must meet or exceed many industry standards.
In 2001 HorseAbility created Camp HorseAbility, a week long riding, learning, and fun-filled day camp for individuals with special needs.
HorseAbility is also responsible for The Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD), the first of its kind for riders with special needs. The finals are held at the renowned Hampton Classic Horse Show.
HorseAbility is located on the beautiful campus of The College at SUNY Old Westbury. We are situated on 20 acres, boast three outdoor riding arenas, ample paddock space and a quarter mile grass track. Our new home is nestled in between sprawling hunt fields and a tranquil golf course.
As local history enthusiasts know, the campus of SUNY Old Westbury is the former estate F. Ambrose Clark – industrialist, sportsman, philanthropist, and avid horseman. Although his home, Broad Hollow House, burned down in 1968, the stables remain. In addition to the acres of grassy turn-outs, forty three roomy stalls, an enormous hayloft (that can hold 40 tons of hay), heated tack rooms, and indoor wash stalls, there is still space for multiple classrooms and therapy rooms. This facility will allow us to further expand our current programs and increase with new programs.
We are currently fundraising to update and renovate the 100 year old, 27,000 square foot building. The funds raised during the Capital Campaign will help us to further restore and bring new life to the historic stables that make our “Home Sweet Home.” This will help us to expand and broaden our equine facilitated facility, year-round programming and the unique services we can provide to the special needs community.
Visit our donation page to make your contribution. Your support will build the future of HorseAbility.