“SpiritHorse International is a non-profit training and credentialing organization. We teach centers worldwide how to transform the lives of people with special needs.”

Ric Lehman

Executive Director

What is Spirit Horse International?

SpiritHorse International is a non-profit training and credentialing organization. We teach centers worldwide how to transform the lives of people with special needs.

We exist not only to provide Equine Assisted Therapy, but also to replicate proven methods at centers worldwide.

What do we do?

Today we provide training and support to SpiritHorse Centers worldwide in an effort to help them help as many people with special needs as possible achieve as much as they possibly can.

Why is equine assisted therapy relevant?

Children with Autism, MS, MD, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Learning Disabilities and more learn to speak. They learn to walk, sit up, stand, and do the simple things most of us take for granted. They live a higher, better quality of life. At Risk youth are taught better decision making paradigms. They can make better decisions and become better role models with the right guidance themselves. But they all need a chance, they need our help.

These very same children do go on to lead useful, self-sufficient and productive lives. They go on to become professors, scientists, educators, captains of industry, and leaders within the free world. All they need is a chance, and a little help. Together, with God’s help and blessings, we can make a difference; together we can be an instrument of change. The best part is that change is good for all of us.

How did SpiritHorse begin?

SpiritHorse International was founded in 2001 by Charles Fletcher in Corinth, TX.  With a love of horses and a desire to help those with disabilities, he grew the program from one center to more than 70 centers worldwide with one basic philosophy: “Love the Children and make all decisions in the favor of the children, not the center.” Charles retired in 2019 and named Ric Lehman the new President and CEO of SpiritHorse International.
Charles Fletcher
Ric ran Haven Horse Ranch (one of the largest SpiritHorse International centers in the country) in northeastern Florida for 30 years.  Ric brings 40 plus years of business management, nonprofit consulting, and operating experience to SpiritHorse International and will carry on the legacy SpiritHorse has of being a premium training and credentialing organization.

Ric Lehman

What does SpiritHorse look like today?

Today there are an estimated 100 centers worldwide with well over 650 people trained and certified.

What makes SpiritHorse unique?

At SpiritHorse, it is not about teaching a person with challenges to ride a horse; it is about what can we do with a horse and this person with special needs to make them stronger, to thrive, and to reach their potential.

SpiritHorse thinks a Certified Equine Assisted Therapy Instructor needs to understand their primary modality tool: the horse. As such, instructors are required to attend a hands-on workshop showing not only to see the SpiritHorse methods but also to learn and understand the horse they are using as the modality of this therapy.

SpiritHorse takes pride in knowing that our certified instructors know how to interact and understand not only the horse and the disability, but also the participant and their family, providing a more all-encompassing approach to therapy.

Why should I become a Spirit Horse certified instructor/center?

Instructor Training is the Lifeblood of our profession and how we achieve these results. So much is changing daily that to be trained several years ago and think you are all set, doing the best you can, is simply untrue. Training is reoccurring endeavor; a journey, not a destination. To that end we offer various training programs to not only get you proficient, but keep you there.