The mission of SIRE is to improve the quality of life for people with special needs through therapeutic horsemanship activities and therapies, and educational outreach.
Cindy Lindh, a special education teacher and SIRE’s founder, fully understood how horses contribute to improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Ms. Lindh started the SIRE program in Connecticut in 1974. The program moved with her to Texas in 1983 and served 5 clients with 2 ponies. SIRE incorporated in 1985 and has continued growing since. SIRE now provides equine-assisted activities and therapies to over 285 clients weekly with over 25 horses at 3 sites across the greater Houston area.
For many years, SIRE operated in donated barns and arenas in the northwest Houston area with a second location in Montgomery, Texas. A generous donation by Pat and Bob Toppenberg in 1995 of a 7‐acre site in Hockley gave SIRE a permanent home with a covered arena. In 2000, SIRE and Houston’s Therapeutic Equestrian Center, located in Spring, Texas, merged. Thanks to the generosity of the Humana Foundation and the O’Neill Foundation, a large covered arena was erected in 2007 on the 37-acre Spring site. SIRE opened its third site at Sienna Stables in Fort Bend County in 2006. Through a partnership with the State of Texas, this site moved in 2012 to the campus of the Richmond State Supported Living Center (RSSLC). SIRE continued to grow and added 16 acres to the Hockley site in 2013. These three sites enable SIRE to serve more people and in locations convenient to their lives.
SIRE offered its first PATH instructor training class in 2010, using the barn aisle at Hockley as the classroom. SIRE now offers a variety of training and education programs to increase the abilities of instructors locally, and across the globe.
Living with disabilities is often a long, arduous journey. Through SIRE’s programming, thousands of people have experienced increased independence, mobility, confidence, stability, strength, and self-esteem, allowing them to thrive in their daily lives.