1205 Northside Dr. Shelby, North Carolina 28150   704.487.9941

Last  updated 5/19/2009

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Young lives limited by disabilities are expanding their horizons at North Shelby  School through an innovative therapy program with an unusual tool - a horse.

The Cleveland County Hearts and Hooves, Inc.

Therapeutic Riding Program

The Cleveland County Hearts and Hooves program was started in 1999 because a parent of a child with a disability saw a need in the community. Hearts and Hooves provides a unique therapeutic horseback riding program to over 45 special needs students in North Shelby, NC. Hearts and Hooves is registered with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), and operators are working toward national accreditation.  

Research shows that students who participate in therapeutic riding can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength.

     Participation has increased vocabulary for some, as well as social skills, and helps develop gross and fine motor skills. Communication skills also improve, as the children learn to follow simple directions doing an activity they enjoy. Children with autism respond best to visual communication, and on riding days, they are shown a picture of a horse or of the horse arena on the school grounds.

Helping Others Play and Enjoy (HOPE)


    HOPE of North Shelby, Inc., founded in February 1998 by Rhonda Cooper, is a non-profit agency that exclusively benefits the students at North Shelby School. HOPE is responsible for building the first Boundless Playground in North Carolina, and completed a handicap-accessible greenhouse where horticulture therapy could be taught, which will further enhance the lives of children with special needs in Cleveland County. HOPE joined forces with Hearts and Hooves to raise money for a new riding arena. We thank HOPE for their support in this and all of their endeavors!



Because Lauren Proctor coordinated a Barrel Race for her senior project at Kings Mountain High School, students at North Shelby School will be able to participte in the Hearts and Hoooves program during the winter months.
Lauren Proctor's
(center) presented the money she raised to students and North Shelby faculty last week. Beth Lloyd, Heather Kauffman, Lindsey Tyler, Dexanie Thompson, Wayne Tanner and Tiffany Spikes traveled to Kings Mountain High School and accepted a check from Lauren for $1400.00.
An additional $500.00 was donated by Angels of the Universe Trust Fund. Another $100 was donated by Lauren’s father who is the Kings Mountain Police Chief, bringing the total amount raised to $2000.00.
These funds will be used to purchase “blinds” for the riding arena so riding sessions can be held in cold weather.