The Children's TherAplay Foundation is a not-for-profit pediatric outpatient clinic just north of Indianapolis that serves children with special needs. But that’s just the beginning of the story. 

This is one of the few clinics in the country dedicated to providing physical and occupational therapies on horseback, through an innovative treatment strategy called hippotherapy. And it is life-changing for both the children we serve and for their families. 

Jack's familyOur story

The Children’s TherAplay Foundation came from the most unlikely of beginnings. In 2000, an Indianapolis-area occupational therapist contacted Craig Dobbs, owner of Lucky Farms, about borrowing some of the Lucky horses to help special needs children utilizing an innovative form of treatment called hippotherapy.

Blessed with four children of his own, Craig was happy share some of Lucky Farms' resources to help children in need, especially when he began to see for himself what the therapist had told him to begin with: Hippotherapy works.

In 2001, Children's TherAplay became a not-for-profit organization, still on the grounds of Lucky Farms. In the ensuing years, Children's TherAplay founder Craig and other caring individuals helped expand not only the facility, building the therapy clinic and administrative offices we still use to this day, but also the program.

Today we are proud to offer pediatric physical and occupational therapy, both using the tool of hippotherapy, to 170 children each week. Each day we are honored to contribute to and celebrate the first steps, first words, first jumps, and other remarkable gains of Central Indiana children who have special needs. 

Anthony - equine-assisted physical therapyWhat makes Children's TherAplay so special? 

Here are five of our favorite reasons. 

  1. Our therapists integrate the movement of horses, a therapy strategy called hippotherapy, into pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments.
  2. While there are many facilities that were created to treat adults and adapted to treat children, Children's TherAplay has always been, first and foremost, child-focused.
     
  3. We hear it so often from the families who Children's TherAplay serves: “Children’s TherAplay is the highlight of our week!”  
     
  4. Children's TherAplay is a not-for-profit organization. Rather than focusing on profits, we are focused on patient care and patient gains.
     
  5. Our clinic and heated indoor riding arena mean we can serve patients year-round. And since Children's TherAplay operates throughout the year rather than in short-term sessions, we are able to offer our kiddos continuous, consistent treatment that helps them grow stronger and more independent. 

Our mission

The mission of The Children’s TherAplay Foundation is to provide children with special needs a foundation for developing life skills through innovative therapies, including equine-assisted physical and occupational therapies, in a safe and caring environment.

Our vision

The Children's TherAplay Foundation is the nationally renowned leader and educator in equine-assisted therapy, which is enthusiastically endorsed as an effective treatment tool for children with special needs.

Children TherAplay collaborates with organizations that share our passion for improving the lives of those we serve. By providing a warm and supportive environment, we help children and their families achieve their goals and dreams.

 

Nikki and Ivania smiling"Exceeds standards"

Why does it matter that Children’s TherAplay is a United Way of Central Indiana partner agency? 

Because United Way agency partners must go through a certification process, ensuring each program is fully vetted and certified, the United Way partner agency logo has been likened to the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval. It guarantees your contributions are being used wisely and appropriately.

We're very proud to say that Children's TherAplay has received the highest rating possible in the intensive evaluation that occurs every four years. It takes a lot to be rated "exceeds standards."

Bentley during occupational therapyThere's a place at the table for everyone

The Children’s TherAplay Foundation is committed to the inclusion of and full participation by all persons in the achievement of its mission. It is the belief of all associated with Children’s TherAplay that bringing together different experiences, beliefs, and cultures allows us to collectively and more effectively serve our constituents, our community, and our world.

Diversity is the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; socio-economic status; and more.

Inclusion is a strategy to leverage diversity. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created. In order to leverage diversity, an environment must be created where people feel supported, listened to and able to do their personal best.

Children’s TherAplay will provide equal opportunity in the delivery of services and in employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, disability, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, Children’s TherAplay shall, to the fullest extent possible, refrain from making financial or contractual commitments to any other agency, organization, business, or industry which practices, condones, or perpetuates discrimination in employment and/or provision of services.

 

Physical therapy in the clinic

Did you know?

Each hour of treatment costs Children’s TherAplay $183; however, the average health insurance reimbursement is only $82. Your support helps close that $101 per-treatment gap and ensure that Central Indiana children with special needs will continue to have access to these life-changing therapies for years to come.

Ready to get involved? 

There are so many easy and enjoyable ways you can help make a difference for the children and families we serve. 

 

  • Our story

    Jack's familyOur story

    The Children’s TherAplay Foundation came from the most unlikely of beginnings. In 2000, an Indianapolis-area occupational therapist contacted Craig Dobbs, owner of Lucky Farms, about borrowing some of the Lucky horses to help special needs children utilizing an innovative form of treatment called hippotherapy.

    Blessed with four children of his own, Craig was happy share some of Lucky Farms' resources to help children in need, especially when he began to see for himself what the therapist had told him to begin with: Hippotherapy works.

    In 2001, Children's TherAplay became a not-for-profit organization, still on the grounds of Lucky Farms. In the ensuing years, Children's TherAplay founder Craig and other caring individuals helped expand not only the facility, building the therapy clinic and administrative offices we still use to this day, but also the program.

    Today we are proud to offer pediatric physical and occupational therapy, both using the tool of hippotherapy, to 170 children each week. Each day we are honored to contribute to and celebrate the first steps, first words, first jumps, and other remarkable gains of Central Indiana children who have special needs. 

  • Five things to love

    Anthony - equine-assisted physical therapyWhat makes Children's TherAplay so special? 

    Here are five of our favorite reasons. 

    1. Our therapists integrate the movement of horses, a therapy strategy called hippotherapy, into pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments.
    2. While there are many facilities that were created to treat adults and adapted to treat children, Children's TherAplay has always been, first and foremost, child-focused.
       
    3. We hear it so often from the families who Children's TherAplay serves: “Children’s TherAplay is the highlight of our week!”  
       
    4. Children's TherAplay is a not-for-profit organization. Rather than focusing on profits, we are focused on patient care and patient gains.
       
    5. Our clinic and heated indoor riding arena mean we can serve patients year-round. And since Children's TherAplay operates throughout the year rather than in short-term sessions, we are able to offer our kiddos continuous, consistent treatment that helps them grow stronger and more independent. 
  • Mission and vision

    Our mission

    The mission of The Children’s TherAplay Foundation is to provide children with special needs a foundation for developing life skills through innovative therapies, including equine-assisted physical and occupational therapies, in a safe and caring environment.

    Our vision

    The Children's TherAplay Foundation is the nationally renowned leader and educator in equine-assisted therapy, which is enthusiastically endorsed as an effective treatment tool for children with special needs.

    Children TherAplay collaborates with organizations that share our passion for improving the lives of those we serve. By providing a warm and supportive environment, we help children and their families achieve their goals and dreams.

     

  • United Way agency

    Nikki and Ivania smiling"Exceeds standards"

    Why does it matter that Children’s TherAplay is a United Way of Central Indiana partner agency? 

    Because United Way agency partners must go through a certification process, ensuring each program is fully vetted and certified, the United Way partner agency logo has been likened to the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval. It guarantees your contributions are being used wisely and appropriately.

    We're very proud to say that Children's TherAplay has received the highest rating possible in the intensive evaluation that occurs every four years. It takes a lot to be rated "exceeds standards."

  • Diversity and inclusion

    Bentley during occupational therapyThere's a place at the table for everyone

    The Children’s TherAplay Foundation is committed to the inclusion of and full participation by all persons in the achievement of its mission. It is the belief of all associated with Children’s TherAplay that bringing together different experiences, beliefs, and cultures allows us to collectively and more effectively serve our constituents, our community, and our world.

    Diversity is the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; socio-economic status; and more.

    Inclusion is a strategy to leverage diversity. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created. In order to leverage diversity, an environment must be created where people feel supported, listened to and able to do their personal best.

    Children’s TherAplay will provide equal opportunity in the delivery of services and in employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, disability, age, gender, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, Children’s TherAplay shall, to the fullest extent possible, refrain from making financial or contractual commitments to any other agency, organization, business, or industry which practices, condones, or perpetuates discrimination in employment and/or provision of services.

     

  • Your support matters

    Physical therapy in the clinic

    Did you know?

    Each hour of treatment costs Children’s TherAplay $183; however, the average health insurance reimbursement is only $82. Your support helps close that $101 per-treatment gap and ensure that Central Indiana children with special needs will continue to have access to these life-changing therapies for years to come.

    Ready to get involved? 

    There are so many easy and enjoyable ways you can help make a difference for the children and families we serve. 

     

[Children's TherAplay is] the best thing that we could probably do for Catalina right now. … She doesn’t even know she’s going for therapy. For her it’s a play time.
– Catalina’s mother, Beatriz

Meet Catalina

Success Story: Meet Catalina

Children’s TherAplay has done so much for Austin that traditional therapies were not able to accomplish.
– Austin's mother, Laura

Meet the Kiddos

Success Story: Meet Austin

It is amazing the difference Children's TherAplay will make in your child. I’m so amazed. .. It’s phenomenal – it’s supportive and encouraging. There aren’t enough words. Children's TherAplay is just amazing for these kids.
– Olivia’s mother, Jana

Meet the Kiddos

Success Story: Meet Olivia

I wish Bridget did not have heart defects, feeding issues, or physical deficits. No parent wishes medical complications for their child. But Bridget has her own timeline. I am thankful that her path led us to Children’s TherAplay, where we’ve learned to find love in this unexpected journey.
– Bridget’s mother, Beth

Meet Bridget

Success Story: Meet Kiddo Bridget

I was just asked by another mother last night at a gathering, "Does Leo go to Children's TherAplay?"
I said, "Absolutely! Are you considering it? Because you should.”
– Leo’s mother, Laura

Meet Leo

Success Story: Meet Leo

Your Support Makes It Possible

There are so many different ways you can help make a difference for kiddos who have special needs. 

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