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Therapeutic Riding Program Acquires Permanent Home

Equine therapy nonprofit purchases Little Full Cry Farm in Clifton.

The new home of The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) is a 17-acre farm in Clifton.

The new home of The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) is a 17-acre farm in Clifton. Photo by Bree Bornhorst

— The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP) recently announced the purchase of Little Full Cry Farm, a 17-acre property located in Clifton.

For NVTRP, a volunteer-based, equine-assisted activities and therapy non-profit, the purchase marks the program’s first permanent operating home since its founding in 1980.

Little Full Cry Farm was the former home of Junior Equitation School, the renowned equestrian program owned and operated by the late Jane M. Dillon.

"The acquisition of Little Full Cry Farm allows us to expand our reach and broaden therapeutic offerings in the Northern Virginia community, serving more children, adults and military service personnel with challenges and disabilities," said Rhonda VanLowe, chair of the NVTRP Board of Governors.

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A student smiles before mounting her horse for a therapeutic riding session at the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program in Clifton.

NVTRP’s riders represent a range of disabilities, including attention deficit disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, and genetic syndromes. NVTRP is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, and a member center of the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia.

"We are thrilled to become the next owners of Little Full Cry Farm, making the Clifton community NVTRP’s permanent home. As a volunteer-based organization, our volunteers witness the benefits each rider gains every day," said executive director Breeana Bornhorst.

According to Bornhorst, the challenges and rewards of horseback riding can have a healing power for people with disabilities. The special relationship with the horse engages the rider's mind, focusing attention, rewarding patience and precision, and inspiring affection.

"Now with our permanent home, we will be able to provide enhanced services to more riders, an incredible opportunity to make a lasting difference to the local community."

After losing its barn and equipment in a fire in 2007, the organization operated at temporary locations before moving to Little Full Cry Farm in 2008. In 2011, Randy Dillon, son of the late Jane M. Dillon, provided NVTRP with the opportunity to purchase Little Cry Farm, according to Bornhorst.

In 2011, NVTRP provided over 3,100 lessons to 262 riders with more than 20,000 volunteer hours.

"There is a huge backlog for the services that NVTRP provides to the disabled - from the very young to our veterans," said Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield). "I know I speak for the Clifton community when I say I am glad they have chosen to make Little Full Cry Farm their permanent home and look forward to helping them complete their indoor riding ring so they can further meet the need for their services."

As part of the Little Full Cry acquisition, NVTRP has goals to build an indoor riding ring to provide year-round services, therapy areas, administrative offices, and bolster parking to

accommodate more riders.

For more information about The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, visit www.nvtrp.org.