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Our Mission

Changing Lives One Stride at a Time

Since 2005, GaitWay Therapeutic Horsemanship has been improving the health and abilities of Baton Rouge’s special needs community.  What started off as a one-woman operation with just a few horses and clients has grown into a program that currently serves over 60 clients annually with 11 equine therapists and a database of over 45 active volunteers.  GaitWay is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of eight dedicated individuals from various fields. 

GaitWay offers its services to both children and adults with a wide array of disabilities in the Greater Baton Rouge area.  For the individuals in this region, GaitWay is the only provider of equine-based therapy services that offers both a certified therapeutic program, and the option for financial assistance.  Traditional approaches to therapy focus on the assistance one human can offer another; at GaitWay, the horse is a companion on the journey and the living embodiment of power through trust and collaborative effort.

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Our Horses

The GaitWay equine therapists are the cornerstone of our programs.  Each day these horses provide laughter, love, and support to each of our riders and all of our volunteers.  GaitWay keeps all of its horses in prime condition and provides them with the best and most advanced care available.  Each horse requires approximately $5,000 per year in order to maintain this level of care.  To contribute to GaitWay and its mission, you can adopt one of our incredible therapy horses and contribute to their special care.

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Hammer

Hammer is a retired Quarter horse gelding. Before he retired from therapy riding, he was a working horse focusing on roping and heeling. He enjoys his quiet, steady life assisting beginner horsemanship lessons at GaitWay. His sweet disposition and gentle nature help with non-verbal communication and building trust with our guests. 

His Wish List

  • Hammer wants supplements to help with his golden years (order here)

Max

Max, a stunning Appoloosa, is one of our younger geldings. His breed is known for its unique spotted coats. He comes from a working western background and has quickly adapted to English and Western riding, making him a versatile horse for our riders. He is known to be so in tune with his riders needs that he can communicate effectively with subtle movements. 

His Wish List

  • Thicker Blanket for the colder days (order here)

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Callie

Callie is a Polish Warmblood with experience in the show ring. She is retired today, but during her time as a GaitWay lesson horse, her quiet confidence made the riders feel at home in the saddle. During retirement, she loves attention and grooming. Her easygoing attitude fits in well at GaitWay.

Sponsored by Mary Virginia Bevan

Her Wish List

  • Apple Flavored Treats 

Beau

Beau was born in 1997 and has been with his person, Eileen since he was 9. They went to many AQHA shows, and he is a superior Showmanship horse and an AQHA Champion. His favorite thing in life is being loved by the people around him. Beau's history as a western pleasure horse makes him an exceptionally comfortable ride and a student favorite.

His Wish List

  • Peanut Hay 

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Heilo

This tall, dark, handsome gentleman is a Cheval Canadian Warmblood owned by our Lesson Program Coordinator, Brianna. Heilo used to pull carriages before coming to GaitWay. He is stoic and affectionate when you pass him in his stall. His strength challenges his riders to be confident and builds their skill. Outside of GaitWay, Heilo, and Brianna love to go to dressage schooling shows.

His Wish List

  • More professional photoshoots to adequately share his magnificence

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Kajun

Kajun is a Louisiana native. He is a Gypsy Vanner, a short but stout draft breed from the British Isles. His black-and-white coloring, dramatic mane, and significant feathering on his legs make him an eye-catcher at the barn. Before his life at GaitWay, he was quite the traveler; he has been through McDonald's drive-thrus and, in true Louisiana fashion, on Zydeco dance floors. Kajun always anticipates his after-lesson treat; if he had it his way, he would get attention from humans 24/7. 

Sponsored by Eve Gonzalez & Nikki Kennerly

His Wish List

  • Kajun wants a full-time massage therapist. 

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Raude

Raude is a 25-year-old Red Dun Norwegian Fjord mare. She came to GaitWay from Minnesota, where she was used as a broodmare, producing eight foals. Raude was ridden for pleasure and pulled sleighs and carts over the hills and through the snow. Her sweet nature and ever-steady rhythm are a perfect combination to teach our younger riders balance and confidence.

Sponsored by John Paul Lorio

Her Wish List

  • Longer bath time to make her blond locks shine.

  • Fly Sheet to keep the pesky flies away (order here)

Rocky

Rocky is a chestnut Quarter horse, which got the breed name because of its ability quickly cover a quarter-mile distance. Despite his potential for speed, Rocky likes to take his time and enjoy life. During grooming, he is known to show a special wiggle from enjoyment. During lessons, he pays close attention to his rider and is willing to do whatever his rider asks.

 

Sponsored by Paige Whitfield 

His Wish List

  • He would like a stall closer to his best friend, Kajun. 

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Duke

Duke is a Missouri Fox Trotter known to have a different way of walking than most breeds. His special gait means he boosts the confidence of beginner riders or those working on the trot. He eagerly follows every command of his rider and has lots of love to give everyone. He has traded in a comfortable life at home with the Clafin's to help others reach their goals. We thank Mr. and Mrs. Clafin for allowing Duke to serve others with special needs!

His Wish List

  • More Salt Licks! (order here)

Red

Red is a small Quarter Horse gelding being leased to GaitWay by Bailey Gentile. Red was a professional on the barrel racing circuit with his owner before coming to us. While Bailey attends nursing school, Red will take on riders of all sizes and help them become more independent and confident. Don't let his small size fool you! He has a big heart and personality, making all his riders believe they can do anything!

His Wish List

  • More barrels and obstacles during lessons (order here)

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Girl

Girl, a Leopard Appaloosa, is our newest horse. When she first arrived, she was a little rusty under saddle. Our staff has worked on getting her comfortable in every scenario. Today, she is a perfect lesson horse for our riders who need to focus on relaxing their bodies. When her rider is relaxed, Girl lets them know. We appreciate her ability to communicate with her riders. 

Her Wish List

  • Carrott Ball Toy (order here)

Gretta

Gretta is a Quarter Horse mare with loads of personality. She loves to get all the attention she can! Since becoming a GaitWay horse, Gretta has enjoyed all of her riders. She especially loves to greet each of her riders, being groomed, meals and snacks! Gretta will never let her riders forget her after-lesson treat. Before Gretta came to GaitWay, she was a hunter jumper with owner Briana. 

Her Wish List

  • Sweet treats every hour, on the hour (Volunteer here)

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Bunny

Bunny is the epitome of a mare. She will rush you no matter the task. If Bunny is waiting for feed, she wants it immediately. When tacking up, she is eager to get into the arena. Under saddle, she is one of the smoothest rides at the barn. She encourages each rider to relax and focus on strength and confidence.

Wish List

Handsome

 

Handsome is our little guy. When he is in lessons with the bigger horses, you may see him trotting to keep up with everyone else. Ponies may have a bad reputation, but Handsome is always the sweetest gentleman. Everyone enjoys him, and our youngest riders enjoy the lessons he teaches.

Wish List

  • He would like the other horses to stop calling him Short Stack.

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