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Therapeutic riding center achieves industry benchmark

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CONOVER — Shining Hope Farms announced that its Conover location has achieved the highest attainable level of Premier Accredited Center status with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, the governing organization for equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with disabilities and veterans.

By achieving this benchmark, the Shining Hope Farms organization has become one of only two Premier Accredited Centers offering hippotherapy (its specialty) in North Carolina, and the only location in Catawba County to attain this designation.

Shining Hope Farms also offers therapeutic riding lessons, a curriculum-based Saddles & Salutes Veterans Program, and equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) mental health services.

The Premier Accredited Center program provides an evaluation process that determines if a center’s programs meet the highest standards for health, safety and the well-being of all participants and equines. 

Achieving this accreditation required passing an on-site visit at all Shining Hope Farms’ facility locations (Conover, Mt. Holly and Charlotte). In doing so, Shining Hope Farms had to meet a wide range of standards in areas such as administrative practices, horse management, safety equipment, quality of instruction and treatment, facility operations, and volunteerism. Compliance with these standards was judged through interviews with staff, participants’ families, and volunteers, an audit of paperwork, and multiple demonstrations of hippotherapy, therapeutic riding and EAP sessions in action. Shining Hope Farms met 100% of all standards at all locations.

“We’re thrilled to have successfully completed our accreditation," said Milinda Kirkpatrick, executive director. “Our priority is the safety, quality, and transparency in all we do, which we believe is echoed in this recent achievement. We are proud to serve the Catawba County community in this way.”

For more information, visit or call 704-827-3788.

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