The Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA) will soon be able to serve more young people, thanks to a large donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Established in 1971, and originally known as the Windsor Association of Riding for the Handicapped, the group offers programing for people with developmental, emotional or physical disabilities.

The grant, of $221,900, will go to support their HOOF program (Horses Offering Outstanding Futures), which serves about 200 youth per week. Over a course of three years, the money could provide spots for 175 more participants.

The HOOF program, designed by WETRA’s therapeutic riding instructor, program coordinator and a social worker, helps young people develop skills such as participation, cooperation and problem solving.

Participants take part in creative equine assisted exercises that help them learn how to make responsible decisions and manage anxiety and stress of their daily lives. According to WETRA’s website, “the activities promote a sense of confidence and encourage the student to reflect on them self and the needs of others. WETRA and its horses offer a safe, motivating, and non-judgmental environment for individuals to work towards self-improvement and a healthy well-being.”

To learn more about WETRA’s programs, visit