Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship
About Us
We are located just off Interstate 55 at the Old Appleton exit. Our facility is about 20 minutes north of Cape Girardeau and Jackson and about 20 minutes south of Perryville.

Our facility includes 12 acres of pasture for our horses, an outdoor riding arena and a 60' X 120' indoor arena. Our office area includes a kitchen, two bathrooms, conference/meeting room and a family room. From the family room you can watch lessons going on in the indoor arena.

Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship is a Premier Accredited Center under the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH). This accreditation program ensures that a facility meets or exceeds established industry standards and provides excellence in providing equine-assisted activities.

Our Mission
It is our greatest wish at MVTH to give those with disabilities the chance to discover how equine assisted therapy can impact their lives. We want to help give every child or adult with special needs the opportunity to experience the amazing benefits of horse therapy. With your help we can continue to offer rider tuition assistance.
Meet Our Horses
Ace is a Haflinger Horse.  He is 16 years old.  He has been with us since 2008.
Before his job as a therapy horse, Ace was trained to drive.  He pulled a cart and a wagon, and competed many times at fairs in our area.  Ace was bred, raised, and trained by our volunteer, Darla Mangels.

Bre is a Haflinger horse.  She is 18 years old.  She has been leased to MVTH since 2013 and is owned by our volunteer, Darla Mangels, who has owned her since she was 1 year old.  
Bre was trained to drive just like Ace and competed many times at fairs in our area.  She has had 8 foals in her life - 4 colts and 4 fillies!  She loves the attention that she receives here at MVTH.  


Muchie is a registered American Quarter Horse mare owned by Darrel Schuette.  She is 21 years old and has been with the program since 2013.  Before coming to MVTH she was a lesson horse and a working ranch horse.  Her favorite thing to do is chase cattle.  She has also done barrel racing and roping.  Muchies has also had 5 foals, 2 colts and 3 fillies.  Most importantly she loves kids and has shown that in her time with the program. 

CJ is a 15 year old Appaloosa and is owned by Jackie Robertson.  CJ has had a life of 4-H eventing, barrel racing, and trail riding.  He was raised by one of our instructors, Tami Tyler, and has been with MVTH since 2013.


Rose is a 16 year old Tennessee Walker, which is a gaited breed with a smoother stride, although she sometimes forgets that and likes to be like the other horses with a bouncy trot!  Rose is owned by Jackie Robertson and has been a faithful trail horse.  Rose has been with MVTH since 2013.


Ranger is a 15 year old Fox Trotter donated to the program in 2014 by Carol Barrens.  As a Fox Trotter, Ranger has a four-beat broken diagonal gait, which makes him look like he is walking with his front legs and trotting with his back legs at the same time.  He has become a favorite here with his sweet personality and sad looking eyes.  

Abacus is a 20+ year old belgain draft horse. He came to us early spring of 2017. Though at present he hasn't yet been used in lessons he has proven to have an exceptionally quiet disposition and we look forward to fall when he will be added to our lesson roster.


Who Can Benefit
What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine Therapy is also referred to as Horse Therapy or Equine-Assisted Therapy. It is a form of experiential therapy that involves interactions between riders and horses.

Equine Therapy involves activities, such as grooming, feeding, haltering and leading a horse. These activities are often supervised with the support of an equine professional. Both during the activity and after the patient has finished working with the horse, the equine therapist can observe and interact with the patient in order to identify behavior patterns.

The goal of equine therapy is to help the rider develop skills and attributes, such as accountability, responsibility, self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and self-control. 

What are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Studies have shown that equine therapy has been successful in helping patients improve in the following areas:

Emotional awareness
Stress tolerance
Impulse control
Problem-solving skills
Social responsibility
Interpersonal relationships

Many of the benefits of equine therapy are likely due to the nature of the animals with which the patient and equine therapist are interacting. Horses are typically non-judgmental, have no preconceived expectations or motives, and are highly effective at mirroring attitudes and behaviors of the humans with whom they are working.

While working with horses under the guidance and supervision of an equine therapist, equine therapy patients have a unique and effective opportunity to note their tendency to engage in self-defeating and otherwise negative thoughts and actions. These realizations provide excellent bases for discussion and processing both during and after the equine therapy experience.

What Conditions/Disorders Does Equine Therapy Treat?

Equine therapy has been successfully integrated into treatment programs for children, teens, and adults who are being treated for substance abuse, addiction, behavior disorders, mood disorders, eating disorders, learning differences, ADD/ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, grief/loss, trauma, sex addiction, compulsive gambling, bipolar, depression and related conditions.

If you are interested in riding at MVTH, please call us at
Rider Testimonials

Becki has been riding at MVTH for 12 years. We have seen vast improvements in posture and using her right hand to steer the horse. Her startle reflex issues have decreased. Horse therapy is Becki's favorite activity. It's fun and great exercise!


When I first came to MVTH I was skeptical of how much good it would do. Diagnosed with MS in 1999, I had spent over ten years in a wheelchair. After two and a half years with MVTH I have improved tremendously, thanks to therapy and response to new medical treatments. The teachers and volunteers are great at making you feel at ease and providing a fun but challenging program tailored to the student's individual needs regardless of age and ability.  [David]


Our son, Josh, began riding at MVTH four years ago at the age of 7. Josh has Down syndrome which is often associated with low muscle tone. Over the last several years we have seen Josh’s “core strength” increase greatly from therapy riding. Not only is the riding a huge benefit but the activities provided, while on the horse, also increase stability and core strength. (While on horses the riders will often shoot basketballs into hoops, reach from side to side to drop rings on a pole, do stretches, and various other activities.) Josh is not a fan of physical therapy/exercisebut he has gained so much strength through riding…all while having fun!  Josh’s posture, while on a horse, is perfect!  

Josh also has apraxia of speech, making verbal communication very difficult for him. Josh has been motivated to tell us when he wants to ride (and enjoys imitating the sounds of a horse)! He uses the commands, “Walk on” and “Whoa” on a regular basis while riding. He often names letters of the alphabet that are posted around the arena and color words while playing games. These all come in a fun, play environment where learning is occurring!
Riding at MVTH has encouraged Josh to be more comfortable around animals. He has always been interested…but from a distance. He is slowly gaining courage to pet and interact with other animals in a safe manner.

When Josh began riding at MVTH I was hopeful it would be a good “fit” for him. The instructors are very knowledgeable. They are wonderful with individuals that have special needs. There are many volunteers that give selflessly of their time and energy in order to provide a special experience for the riders. Josh’s favorite part of MVTH is the annual horse show; when his family and friends get to come watch him in action! He is the STAR! Horse riding has become Josh’s “thing.” We are grateful for MVTH and all the amazing people that make it what it is! [Michelle Simpson]