Alternative Breaks

Each year CATRA hosts ‘Alternative Break’ students from various colleges and universities in the United States. Students typically spend 4 or 5 days volunteering at CATRA while learning more about the role and benefits of therapeutic riding for individuals dealing with a wide variety of special needs.


Alternative Break OrientationWhile at CATRA, students can expect to assist riders with therapeutic riding lessons. Level of assistance depends upon knowledge and ability and can include grooming and tacking of the horses as well as leading and side-walking during a lesson.

Students also support the daily chores and tasks of the facility. This includes maintenance of the stalls and paddocks, feeding and caring for the horses and other animals, re-stocking hay stations, cleaning water troughs, and general maintenance needs. Each day typically begins at 9 am and lasts until 5 or 6 that evening. Additionally, one evening students can expect to participate in an experiential workshop focused on the benefits of therapeutic riding. Students are also welcomed to participate in any community clinics or workshops that are being offered during the week.


CATRA does not have dormitory facilities. Student groups are required to arrange for their own housing needs. Often local churches are supportive. Beyond a refrigerator and microwave, CATRA does not have food services. Students will typically bring a packed lunch or travel to local eateries.


Alt BreakCATRA is a working horse farm and all work takes place outdoors or within the facility’s barns. Students will get dirty. Weather conditions must be considered when packing for CATRA. Students should bring clothing appropriate to the situation. This includes sturdy shoes (sneakers are ok). During late fall or winter, layers of clothing (thermal underwear is appropriate), hats, gloves, and other items which maintain warmth and offer protection are necessary.

CATRA is an all-volunteer organization. Without individuals and groups who are willing to volunteer time and assistance, this program could not exist – THANK YOU!