SUNY Cobleskill’s Therapeutic Horsemanship Program Receives Two Grant Awards to Enhance Veteran-Focused Programming

SUNY Cobleskill’s Therapeutic Horsemanship Program has received two grant awards, totaling more than $100,000, to further enhance its initiatives focused on assisting Veterans and their families. The College will be offering its Therapeutic Horsemanship Veterans Program during Winter Session, Dec. 2021 through Jan. 2022, made possible, in part, through a $90,886 grant from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Adaptive Sports Program. 

The five-week, hands-on experience offers Veterans the opportunity to work with horses at SUNY Cobleskill’s Equine Center in ground programming or recreational horseback riding. The program is accessible and open to Veterans of all physical abilities. No prior training or interaction with horses is required. Any Veteran interested in learning more about the program may contact Carolyn Nelson at nelsoncm@cobleskill.edu.  

This is the second year running that SUNY Cobleskill’s program has been selected for support through the VA Adaptive Sports Program. It is now one of only nine programs nationwide to receive funding in back-to-back years. Part of last year’s grant award was put toward acquiring a lift to allow Veterans in wheelchairs an opportunity to experience recreational horseback riding. 

The College also received a $10,000 grant from the Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education. The Foundation’s annual grant initiative assists programs that focus on animal-assisted activities that demonstrate people and animals working together for the benefit of both. In 2021, the Foundation prioritized those programs that include services to the military, Veterans, and their families. 

Funding received through the Latham Foundation will go toward Veteran and family recreational scholarships and an academic scholarship for SUNY Cobleskill’s Therapeutic Horsemanship degree program for a Veteran or their child.  

“We have been privileged to serve Veterans and their families and to introduce them to a new experience of learning about horses and themselves,” said Marny Mansfield, Associate Professor of Animal Science at SUNY Cobleskill. “We are grateful for the recognition and the funding that will allow us to continue to engage and serve those most in need.” 

SUNY Cobleskill’s Therapeutic Horsemanship Programhas served individuals with varied needs and Veterans for more than 20 years. The program was expanded in 2016 to include a Bachelor’s in Technology (BT) degree in Therapeutic Horsemanship. Coursework includes a unique mix of animal science, psychology, early childhood education, and physical education and recreation classes. The College recently introduced a micro-credential in Therapeutic Horsemanship Life Skills. Earners will gain life skills in non-verbal communication, boundaries, empathy, trust, self-care, and healthy choices, and gain a basic understanding of horse care and safety.