By Amy Johnston, TREE House Board Member and Volunteer
Those of us who are lucky enough to live in this area might have chosen it because of the wildlife and scenery we often have in our own backyards, but there is another reason to love our area.
Between Wentzville and New Melle on Highway Z is a hidden gem called TREE House of Greater St. Louis (TH). Founded in 1975 as Therapeutic Horsemanship, this not-for-profit organization provides Therapy, Recreation, Education, and Exploration opportunities to hundreds of local children, adults, and veterans with disabilities each year.
TREE House is a special, welcoming place where individuals and their families can grow emotionally, physically, and/or mentally. Equine-assisted therapy is the cornerstone program of the PATH, Intl. Premier Accredited Center, one of the oldest and largest of its kind throughout the country. 260+ dedicated volunteers work together with licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/ language pathologists, certified therapeutic riding instructors, and a herd of 25 therapy horses to support participant outcomes that just cannot be replicated in other settings! Individual achievements extend far beyond the arena walls to positively impact many other areas of home, school, work, and community.
Types of Programs: TREE House’s therapy programs include Equine-assisted Therapy Program, also known as Hippotherapy, and Adaptive Therapeutic Riding serving individuals with disabilities. Injured active military service personnel, reservists, or veterans are eligible to participate in our equine-assisted therapy program designed specifically for them called TH Freedom Reins. TREE House also offers Equine-Assisted Mental Health Programs for individuals who are having difficulties coping with behavioral and/or emotional issues or have a diagnosed mental health condition; including issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bullying, improving self-esteem and more. For children of all abilities ages 5 to 18, TREE House offers inclusionary summer camp opportunities. No horse experience necessary! Individuals without disabilities who are interested in learning how to ride can participate in TREE House’s Gaitway Riding program.