Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I ride at Great Oak?  Where do your riders come from?

Great Oak accepts referrals from many different sources including, personal, physicians, therapists, case managers, and the school system.  A formal referral is not required for participation. If you’re interested in riding, please email our Lead Instructor, Eva Finnan at eva@greatoakeap.org or call the Barn Office at 803-226-0056.

How much does it cost to participate and how does the schedule work?

Great Oak operates year-round and offers a 20 week Spring Session, an 8 week Summer Session, and a 20 week Fall Session.  Students ride during the same day and time each week throughout the session. Each lesson costs $40, but Financial Assistance is available for those who qualify. At this time Great Oak’s Therapeutic Riding services are not billable to insurance.

How does Great Oak select their horses for their programs?

Currently, all of Great Oak’s horses have been generously donated to us by community members. If an owner is interested in donating or free leasing their horse to us the first step is to complete the Horse Inquiry Form. Once that form has been completed and submitted, Great Oak’s Equine Committee reviews the application and assesses if that horse meets our current riders’ needs.  If it is determined that the horse would be an appropriate fit, Great Oak’s instructors schedule a time to visit.  Great Oak Instructors may groom, lunge, lead, imitate sidewalking, and observe the horse in their stall and pasture during a visit.  After an off-property evaluation, the Equine Committee may ask to bring the horse to our farm for an up to 90-day assessment to determine how successful and happy the horse will be as a “GO” Pony. 

What does Great Oak look for in a horse?

Great Oak takes great care in selecting horses for the program.  We look for horses that are healthy and have a good demeanor. A good age is between 10 and 17.  We look for a horse that moves forward easily and freely, one that picks up his feet and responds readily to commands.  A willingness to learn and intelligence are also important.  The most important consideration is that a horse is calm and unexcitable, that is indifferent to objects or people moving around him and or touching him, and that he gets along well with other riders.

How old do you have to be to volunteer?

In order to participate in programs, a volunteer must be 14 years old.  For volunteers younger than 14 years old, Great Oak has developed a new program for younger volunteers called Pony Pals!

What is Pony Pals?

Pony Pals is a program for 10-14-year-olds who have shown an interest in serving the community and or working with horses. Pony Pals may help our other volunteers take care of the “GO” Ponies and prepare the farm for our activities during their time at the barn. An adult will need to be present at the farm during a Pony Pals scheduled time at Great Oak.

When and where is Volunteer Training?

Volunteer training typically takes place at the Great Oak facility. Please visit our Volunteer page for the most up-to-date Volunteer Training schedule, here: Volunteer.

Can families volunteer?

Families are welcome to volunteer!  Great Oak can make accommodations for a one-time project through our Monthly Farm Days or a family can participate as “GO” Getters in the barn weekly. 

How do I schedule a group service project?

Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Grace Flanders by email at Grace@greatoakeap.org or the Barn Office at 803-226-0056 about dates that your group can come to the farm!

Do we need to sign up for Volunteer Training?

Sign-up is not required but encouraged.  Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Grace Flanders by email at Grace@greatoakeap.org or the Barn Office at 803-226-0056 if you plan on attending so we can be ready for you to come to the farm!