The founders of the Gleneayre Equestrian Program, Bob and Ellen Healey, recognized a particular need amongst children who had been involved in the world of equestrian sports but were no longer able to continue with this commitment because of a particular challenge or obstacle in their lives. Some of these children succumbed to unhealthy lifestyle choices, negative behaviors, and drug addiction, often because they were lacking the reliable support system that being engaged with horses provides. The Healeys founded the Gleneayre Equestrian Program with the mission of providing experiential learning opportunities to youth facing social, academic, financial, or family challenges, in an effort to keep these youth focused on positive aspects of their lives and allow them to continue riding.
Bob and Ellen’s involvement in equestrian sports also acquainted them with the need for a secondary career for show horses that were no longer as competitive on the show circuit, but were not quite ready to retire. It became the Healey’s personal vision to create a space where children experiencing life’s challenges can feel valued, supported, learn and grow through caring for and riding horses, while at the same time providing a new career for semi-retired show horses.
Since the inception of the Gleneayre Equestrian Program in 1998, the mission has sought to address a broad spectrum of issues related to adolescent development; such as but not limited to: academics, low self- esteem, substance abuse, single parent households, financial difficulties, learning impairments, children at-risk and mental health issues.
In 2001, GEP hired a full time trainer, Jason Newman and a Program Coordinator, Jason’s wife, Alison Newman now the Managing Director. The addition of these two dedicated professionals has not only led to an outstanding riding program, but also to a very supportive environment for the children of the Gleneayre Equestrian Program.