The Xenophon Story
Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center is located in a beautiful rural setting in Orinda, CA, twenty miles from San Francisco. With our professional staff and a cadre of volunteers, we offer life-changing experiences for children with a wide range of disabilities. Through equine-assisted activities provided in a safe and secure environment, our children achieve goals that they never before dreamed possible. With a horse as their guide, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Xenophon is a non-profit 501(c)3 registered charity, offering both Therapeutic Riding and Pediatric Therapy Services. In Therapeutic Riding, basic horsemanship skills are integrated into therapy goals tailored to each individual’s specific needs. Our licensed physical therapist and occupational therapist on staff facilitate the goals designed in our hippotherapy sessions.
Xenophon came to be because of several factors. My husband and I have an autistic son, so we were very involved with the disabled community. I had ridden horses since I was a child, so knew the benefits they held for both able-bodied and disabled people. After volunteering at a therapeutic program, I realized that we needed one in our area. So, why not try to start one?
Xenophon began at Carol Dwinell’s Black Point Farm in Martinez in August of 1993, with one horse and two students. Carol had lovely quiet vaulting horses that she allowed us to use for our fledgling program. We operated two days per week and had four lessons. We were lucky to have volunteers who loved what they were doing, so word got out that helping our disabled children on horses was a rewarding and enjoyable thing to do.
In 1996, we moved to our present location in Orinda, where we lease three acres from PG&E. With the help of several strong and talented people, we built the basic structures that we needed. In the following years, with the help of Chevron, we have added such amenities as a viewing deck and wooden shed for the horses. In 2011, thanks to the generosity of our donors, Clark Construction, McGuire & Hester, Contra Costa Electric and the Lescure Company, we were able to build a covered arena, winter quarters for our horses, and a new office building. We then made the transition from a seasonal to a year-round program.
Xenophon now serves over 50 children per week, giving individual lessons suited to their unique abilities. We are proud to be an accredited center under the national governing body: The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). Xenophon received 100% at its last accreditation visit. This is based on adhering to the 100 different criteria set up by PATH’s National accreditation committee. We are the ONLY accredited center serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We have also received two national awards: our student, Anthony Fusaro (RIP), was voted National Youth Rider of the Year and our horse, Cocoa, was voted National Therapy Horse of the year.
We now have ten PATH registered instructors and five licensed therapists (OT and PT) on staff. Xenophon has come a long way from our humble start in 1993. We are proud of what we have done and expect to continue to provide a challenging and worthwhile program for our disabled children, adults, and veterans.