Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China

by HOPE (Horses Offering People Enrichment)
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China
Support Therapeutic Riding for disabled in China

Greetings HOPE Supporters,

We hope that is all well with you and your loved ones. We want to share a brief overview of HOPE and how our services are progressing, thanks in part to your contributions.

First, as I was preparing to give a presentation to Chinese audiences via Zoom, I reviewed HOPE’s history and was stuck by how far we’ve come! HOPE is a PATH Intl. Member Center (Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding) thus we follow the guidelines and standards established by that organization. In and of itself, this is quite an accomplishment for a program based on the outskirts of Beijing.

Second, it is the one year anniversary of our Program Manager becoming a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI). As far as we know, she is the first Chinese citizen to become a CRTI who received all of her training in mainland China (at HOPE, of course!). Her accomplishment is an example of HOPE fulfilling its vision: To be an exemplary service provider, educator, and leader of therapeutic horsemanship, encouraging service to individuals with special needs.

Third, our Administrative Director continues to work tirelessly. She and the HOPE team have raised the awareness of HOPE’s services and family-centered approach to caring for individuals with disabilities. Of note, she and several other staff members have been with us for many years - a major factor in HOPE’s ability to grow, maintain our horses, and to be “an exemplary service provider” of equine-assisted services (EAS). HOPE now has eight staff (four full-time) in Beijing and each provides a valuable service to the organization.

As a leader, HOPE started a new program last year: a prevocational program for individuals with special needs preparing them to work in the community. This is the first EAS program of this kind in mainland China. Skill development focused on communication, following directions, appropriate social interaction, functional-skill building and reporting to management. It’s amazing what EAS can facilitate! This program was so successful that Lucia has ideas to expand it in the future.

 A few highlights from this year:

  • Therapeutic riding lessons and ground lessons offered weekly during spring and fall sessions.
  •  Annual summer camps were successful again this year!
  • Instructor-in Training: currently three (two men and one woman) being trained
  • Western Academy of Beijing Int’l. School --- starting After-School-Activity with six primary-school children taking therapeutic riding lessons with high school students volunteering as the side walkers. What a great approach!
  • Beijing World Youth Academy Int’l. School --- organizing eight G12 students volunteering at HOPE as part of their CAS program.
  • Keystone School --- organizing G7-G9 students doing a monthly integration event with HOPE participants. 
  • International School of Beijing --- High School Activities Club (Dragon Council) for HOPE

The HOPE team and I would like to extend a sincere thank you to our donors and supporters. Because of you, HOPE is enriching lives in partnership with the horse! How wonderful is that?!

In gratitude,
Priscilla Lightsey, Founder

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Lessons at HOPE
Lessons at HOPE

Dear HOPE Family,

What an incredible start to summer it has been! The HOPE Team continues to work hard to serve individual with disabilities in China despite the summer heat. Our Program Manager, Lucia changed the summer schedule due to impacts from COVID closures earlier this year. She and the HOPE Team extended our regular program schedule which pushed summer camp back a couple weeks. To minimize time in the heat, HOPE will have two weeks of summer camp now, take a short break, and finish up the last two weeks of camp late August. Seventeen participants have registered for summer camps this year and we are excited to once again offer this fun and educational experience.

Over the spring session, HOPE served 29 participants over 390 service hours. This number includes weekly therapeutic riding lessons as well as a continuation of the HOPE Prevocational Program that was introduced a couple years ago. The Prevocational Program has been a great addition to HOPE program by providing an opportunity for young adults to practice work and life skills in a structured environment. Since its inception, we have seen great growth and independence in these participants and look forward to what the future brings.

This spring we brought in a new instructor, Marco, to help teach lessons. He came to HOPE after working at another center that, unfortunately, shut down. As Marco acclimates into the HOPE program, we hope to provide additional lessons throughout the year. Shuanghong will also return to us after taking a brief sabbatical to travel with her children this spring. Both Marco and Shuanghong will bring a depth to our teaching staff that we have not previously had, and under the supervision (and skilled eye) of Lucia, the HOPE program continues to grow.

Luna, the Administrative Director, Zhao Xiao, the Equine Manager, and our fabulous equines also play key roles in HOPE’s continued development. Together the HOPE team offers safe and effective services, due in large part to your continued support of HOPE – thank you! We cannot wait to update you in the fall.

With gratitude and appreciation,

The HOPE Beijing Team

Sumer Camp Circle
Sumer Camp Circle
Marco Teaching a Lesson
Marco Teaching a Lesson


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Dear HOPE Supporter,

We are excited to continue sharing the HOPE 2021 Annual Report written by HOPE Program Manager Lucia. Keep reading for the final part of the HOPE Annual Report starting with participant updates. 

Victor | Horse partner: Mu’er, Hei‘shan
It is incredible that the boy who typically had a mobile phone playing music in his ear six years ago has now become HOPE's most independent rider.
2021 is Victor's sixth year of taking lessons with HOPE. With gradual progression and additional skills, Victor has made many breakthroughs this year. In the spring season, Victor took only 6 lessons to fully master the balancing skill of completing a "circle around the world" during the horse's walk and partnered with Mu'er to represent HOPE in the Horse Show hosted by Oriental Equestrian Club. Then, together with his old partner, Hei’shan, Victor has started the road to becoming an independent rider.

At the walk, he gradually improves and manages balance movements such as “jumping position”. He works hard to practice rising trot, from a few strides to a full circle, and he has fully mastered the transitional skills of asking the horse to walk and halt and can now make simple turns without a horse handler.

And Victor's concentration on horseback has improved significantly year by year, and he no longer needs "deep pressure" exercises to slow down his excitement. He has also made progress in mounting and dismounting. With only a few verbal reminders he can independently mount the horse on the mounting block and dismount in the center of the arena without assistance. We are so proud of Victor in his pursuit of independence and improved skills.

Xiaole | Horse partner: Tank
This year he stood up in the stirrups while riding for the first time.

After taking a break from riding, Xiaole restarted his equestrian classes with the horse Tank as his new partner. The biggest improvement this year was being able to stand up in the stirrups independently. Standing with some assistance from a sidewalker when the horse halts, and finally being able to stand up on his own while the horse is walking and hold on for 20 seconds. This is a remarkable achievement and huge progress for Xiaole.
In 2019, Xiaole had practiced throwing small balls, which laid a good foundation for his upper body control and movement. Even with a break, this year Xiaole played horse-basketball game very well. One of the most difficult things for him is to grasp a smooth ball the size of his palm, so by playing horse-basketball he not only has fun but continues to work on his left-hand grasping ability. In May, he also represented HOPE in the Horse Show hosted by Oriental Equestrian Club.
Xiaole is always tenacious and optimistic. In each class, he will try his best to complete the objective, and he will never give up if he does not achieve it that week. Tank, with a stable and strong back, and steady and dynamic pace, supports Xiaole and helps him relax, making him the best horse partner for Xiaole.

2021 Donations from the Enterprises/Social Organizations
85% of the operating funds of the HOPE project come from donations and the support of people from all walks of life. The companies that donated with love in 2021 include:
German Bazaar, Rotary Club of Beijing, Rotary Club EAST, Western Academy of Beijing, NOLA Band, Jiashi Foundation, Ai’mashi Equestrian Training Co., Ltd., Decathlon Sports Development Co., Ltd., Beijing Xiwu Country Equestrian Club, Tencent Public Welfare, China Charities Aid Foundation for Children.
Thanks to supporting partners:
Happy Pony Club, Su·Art Museum, Wuma Art Museum, Hundred Million Light Years Education, Haidian Foreign Language School, Airbus Beijing, Conrad Beijing.
The HOPE Horse Partners & Staff
HOPE currently has 4 full-time horse partners: Dabao, Heishan, Tank, and Mu’er. For details about them, please refer to the "HOPE Horse Cloud-Raising Plan" and the monthly report.
Thanks to the support of Oriental and Xiwu Equestrian Club, HOPE also has 2 volunteer horse partners: Feimao and Froni, who serve once a week. The two ponies are very popular with children.
HOPE currently has 3 full-time employees: Luna, Operation Manager, Lucia, Program Manager, and Sishun, Assistant Groom; and a very important part-time staff horse trainer Jimmy. HOPE also has two Instructors-in-training Shuanghong and Wenyue who also help a lot with program and Maggie who assisted in fundraising in 2021.
It is worth mentioning that in 2021, Shuanghong and Yanbo (Jimmy) respectively obtained the Beijing Turf & Equestrian Association Junior Coach and French Equestrian Association CAE1 coach certification. Congratulations to them! Here, let’s congratulate Lucia again for her certification of PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI)!
To sum up, reading here to the end, it must be true love. We wish our friends a happy New Year of Tiger and a new look in the new year. Blessings and gratitude to the children again, thank you for exploring the shared future with HOPE.

We are so thankful for all the amazing supporters of HOPE, our participants, volunteers, donors, horses and staff. We would not be able to continue providing these services without your support. 

We hope you have enjoyed the HOPE Annual Report and we look forward to sending more updates throughout the year. 

Thank you always for your continued support, 

The HOPE Team 


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Dear HOPE Supporter,

We are excited to continue sharing the HOPE 2021 Annual Report written by HOPE Program Manager Lucia Zhou. Keep reading to find out the exciting programs that took place in 2021.  

Equine Assisted Service (EAS) Lessons

HOPE continues to provide Equine Assisted Services (EAS) with weekly lessons throughout the year. The spring season is from March to June with the fall season from September to December. Program operates Monday to Friday.

In 2021, the number of regular participants gradually increased from 11 to 21 with 10-25 volunteers coming to HOPE every week to help provide services. Every child has made gratifying progress as tracked through progress notes. 

The 7th EAS Summer Camp

In July, for 4 consecutive weeks, 16 kids and 43 volunteers participated.

The kids learned to ride and how to take care of horses, created horse-themed handmade creations, enjoyed music classes, and played games. The coach designed personalized activities according to the specific situation of the riders and arranged the most suitable volunteer partner for each rider. The HOPE camp also gave a great break for parents during the hot summer weeks.

Of note, this summer camp was completely planned, organized and implemented by the HOPE local team, without the on-site support of foreign experts. During the camp, the team successfully dealt with changing weather effects such as rainstorms and thunderstorm, while maintaining the quality of service that HOPE is known for.

During the four-day-a-week activities, the connection between the riders and the horses gradually strengthened, and the trust between the children and the volunteers gradually increased as well. Everyone witnessed the children's progress in communication, emotional improvement, and social interaction among other aspects.

Public Welfare Open Day

This event is usually held on Thursdays throughout the regular HOPE session. In 2021, it served a total of 68 children from 7 organizations and 18 families. A total of 16 events were held throughout the year, and about 10 volunteers participated in each event.

Organizations that participated: Bethel (a charity serving children with visual impairment), Renyuyuan (a learning center for children with special needs), Beijing Huiling (a charity for adults with special needs), Zhi’ai school (a small school for children with special needs), Nuanxin Courtyard (a small school for young adults with special needs), Youli School (a kindergarten for integration, accepting children with special needs), Rainbow Rehabilitation Center (a school for children with special needs).

Artwork activities in the barn

For 12 consecutive weekends from October to December, artwork/handcraft activities classes were held. These activities served a 108 participants, including 37 families with special needs.

During the weekend handcraft time, art allowed children, volunteers, and parents to integrate naturally, enabling therapeutic benefits to occur naturally in the process of creation. The environment of the horse stable is open and natural, which can make people feel physically and mentally happy. These activities were very popular among parents, potentially allowing them time to enjoy and reflect on the world around them.

Handmade art activities, including horse-themed hand-paint, treasure hunts around the horse stable, natural smart classrooms, hand-made cloth tigers, woodworking, flower arrangements, etc. are all rich and interesting activities that were done.

Prevocational training for young adults with special needs

HOPE is currently serving 3 trainees who come to HOPE for 1-3 half days a week. Under the guidance of coaches or the support of volunteers, they clean the stalls and the barn environment, brush, and walk horses.

This is a transition service for the young adults with special needs, also known as "vocational training". Although the number of people currently serving is small, HOPE has carried out various programs to find the best format. One participant joined HOPE over 10 years ago, while others are new and have never had contact with horses before. They have achieved remarkable results and they are very fond of coming to work at the HOPE barn.

Where can young adults with special needs go after they age-out and must leave the school system? They may not be able to find employment, and staying at home can be challenging mentally and physically without a day-to-day focus. The barn environment is relatively quiet, and there is no complicated interpersonal communication, only work cleaning and caring for the horse. Many enjoy the repetitive work of a chore with a clear goal and expectation. Participants may find it interesting to watch and interact with the horses in their spare time. HOPE continues to explore this project and hope to open a new path of supportive employment for the young adults with special needs.


265 volunteers participated in various services throughout the year, with a cumulative volunteer time of 4,400 hours. Specifically, summer camp volunteers, mainly students, contributed more than 1,200 hours by 43 people.

There are 42 regular and substitute volunteers in the EAS weekly lessons contributing more than 2,600 hours of volunteer service. Here, we would like to express our gratitude to all the partners who provided year-round service or contributed dozens of hours: Wang Yuqi, Li Shuang, Shen Qianrong, Huang Wei, Liu Baozhong, Grace Yu Zhaojin, Liu Haohao, Zhou Qian, Emma Qian Jiabei, Li Zixin, Leah Newey, Pan Xiaoduo, Yao Kailin, Nicola Murphy, Chen Yanyuan, Li Man, Hu Jingyan, Lin Yujia, Wu Hui, Liu Bing, Lin Ping, Ding Shuangyang.

In the artwork activities, a total of 25 volunteers assisted the children, took photos, made short videos, etc., and 7 handicraft teachers volunteered to contribute their fantastic art skills.

The students in Haidian Foreign Language School founded HOPE Club with 48 club members for the 1st year. They provided hand-painting, graphic design, event planning and other services for the HOPE project, contributing more than 300 volunteer hours. This is the first student volunteer club in China specially established for HOPE. Many thanks to the main founders such as Lu Yaning, Wan Yunxi, Zhou Zhibin and all the students!

There are also volunteer families such as young student Yin Muting, her father Yin Zhen and mother Liu Wei, who have all participated in events together, have a high attendance rate, and actively participate in various activities for HOPE throughout the year. Thank you for the loving family!

We are so thankful for all the amazing supporters of HOPE, our partcipants, volunteers, donors, horses and staff. We would not be able to continue providing these services without your support. 

Next week we'll be sending out Part Three of the Annual Report, so keep an eye on your inbox.

Thank you always for your continued support, 

The HOPE Team 



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Dear HOPE Supporters and Family,

This report, written by HOPE Program Manager Lucia Zhou, will be the first of three reports showcasing all HOPE has achieved in 2021. Please continue reading to learn about our activities, accomplishments and where HOPE may be headed in the future.

2021 showed that HOPE is a big family with participants, volunteers, donors, team of staff and very important horse partners. In 2021, the extended HOPE family has more than 500 members. With the assistance of 6 horse partners, the Equine Assisted Services program has served 105 participants for a total of 1059 hours. With everyone's support and company, HOPE has ushered in a brand-new 13th year. At this time, we are full of gratitude and joy!

This report is for all the HOPE family members to highlight the efforts and gains of this year. Thank you for your continued support. We wish you and your family a happy Chinese New Year of Tiger, peace and joy!

  • In March, HOPE entered into a partnership with Beijing Xiwu Country Equestrian Club, allowing HOPE to expand to two locations, reach a wider audience and potentially serve more individuals in the future.
  • In May, HOPE participants made their equestrian debut at a horse show hosted by Oriental Equestrian Club demonstrating the equestrian skills they learned at HOPE.
  • In September, the HOPE project on Tencent Charity Day 99 was selected as a "small and high-quality project" by Tencent Charity. More than 230 generous riders, volunteers, and the annual love Ambassador He Xian fundraised for HOPE.
  • In December, Program Manager Lucia Zhou received the PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI) certification, becoming the first applicant to complete the whole certification process in mainland China. This is a historic breakthrough for the HOPE program and for Lucia.

As you can see 2021 was a year of highlights and firsts for the HOPE team. We are so thankful for the perseverance of the local Chinese Team for continuing to not just move forward but thrive over the last two years in the face of a global pandemic while continuing to provide these valuable services to the local community. Keep an eye out over the next three weeks as we continue to share the rest of the Annual Report. 

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to HOPE. We are so thankful for your passion and commitment to providing equine assisted services to individuals with disabilities in China.

With appreciation,

The HOPE Family 


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Organization Information

HOPE (Horses Offering People Enrichment)

Location: Austin, TX - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Priscilla Lightsey
Austin, TX United States
$6,855 raised of $20,000 goal
92 donations
$13,145 to go
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