Central Illinois Riding Therapy


305 Neumann Dr, East Peoria, IL 61611 - (309) 699-3710

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The CIRT Story

A young rider expertly puts his mount through it's paces, enjoying an exhilarating ride only inches from the rail of an arena that he cannot see. Another rider guides her horse through an intricate course of obstacles, signaling her mount using her hands and legs. Girl and horse work together in perfect harmony, as she keeps constant eye contact with the instructor to see the the commands that she cannot hear. And a third rider, smaller than the others, is lifted onto a small pony. Her face is bright and her eyes sparkle -- she lets loose a squeal of delight as she bounces along on her trotting pony. Finished riding, she is lifted from the saddle by volunteers, who help her bend her arms into a hug around the pony's neck before returning her to her pink wheelchair...


Not long ago differently-abled children and adults were limited to life in an institution. Today, a deeper understanding of the range of human possibility provides the motivation that drives Central Illinois Riding Therapy (CIRT). In operation since 1983, CIRT gives riding therapy lessons five days a week, year-round, to approximately 100 children and adults with varying levels of disability. Children and adults alike can experience the feel of flying manes, powerful muscles and above all, the freedom of motion that these gentle, majestic animals represent. For some, it's the greatest freedom that they'll ever enjoy.

CIRT began in 1983 with money from a 4-H grant, borrowed horses and six riders. Today, CIRT is a not-for-profit organization organization staffed by a director, certified instructors and assistants, numerous volunteers and 11 horses. Costs for participants are kept as low as possible and scholarships are readily available for those in need. It is CIRT's sincere wish that eventually this type of therapy be available to all those whom it may benefit.

However, to accomplish our goals, we need your help. CIRT is funded primarily through organizations and private donations. Your tax deductible donation (501c3) will help us continue a nationally accredited, quality program that benefits riders physically, emotionally and mentally. Help our riders to "fly without wings." The sense of accomplishment lasts a lifetime--and it's a feeling you can share.