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Rein in a Dream (RIAD)

Therapeutic Horsemanship and Animal Assisted Therapy

For the last 30 years, RIAD has specialized in providing services to children and adults with a wide range of mental health, cognitive, and developmental challenges. Our welcoming agrarian setting, paired with our skilled instructors, provides the perfect environment for participants to learn, grow, and heal.

868 Main St., Lancaster, MA

978-368-4804 or Email

Our Vision

Rein in a Dream is committed to fostering a community where we connect individuals with equines and small farm animals to improve lives through the benefits of the human-animal bond.

Who We Serve

RIAD provides a variety of Equine Assisted Services and Animal Assisted Interventions that are appropriate for children and adults with who are dealing with a variety of mental health, educational, developmental, and other challenges. We also offer Recreation Riding in a non-competitive environment.

Services are offered to children and adults starting at 4 years of age. RIAD instructors’ welcome collaborations with clinical specialists, guidance counselors and IEP Coordinators.

This list highlights several of the disorders and conditions that may benefit from equine, and animals assisted services. Specific diagnosis is not required for participation. It is not comprehensive.

Depressive Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Attention Deficit Disorders

Developmental Delays

Cognitive Disorders

Behavioral Issues

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Down Syndrome

Physical Disabilities

Low self-esteem and confidence

Speech and Language Diagnosis

What We Do

RIAD delivers a wide range of Equine Assisted Services (EAS) and Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) that are goal directed and structured to meet the individual needs of the participant. Equines and small animals are thoughtfully integrated into lessons to promote educational, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, and physical improvements. RIAD specializes in meeting the unique needs of individuals with a history of mental health challenges including creating a culture that is based on trauma informed care.

The RIAD experience merges the benefits of the Human-Animal Bond with specially designed lesson programs that support the participants unique goals. The Human-Animal Bond is described as a mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals that each influences the psychological, and physiological state of the other.

One of the main influences that leads to personal growth, academic improvement and emotional healing is the partnership that is built with the equines and small animals. The instructors and educators are the bridge connecting the participants to this powerful alternative intervention.

Our Services

Equine Therapy and More

Rein in a Dream Therapeutic Horsemanship Center (RIAD) offers services which embrace the powerful impact of including animals in an educational and therapeutic setting, with specially designed lesson programs that support each participant’s unique goals. We maintain a commitment to provide services based on industry best practices to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our participants, equines, farm animals, staff, and volunteers.

Equine Assisted Services

Equine Assisted Services include equine activities and therapies that involve horses and other equines which benefit individuals with unique and diverse needs.

We offer:
Therapeutic Horsemanship, Equine Assisted Learning, Therapeutic Riding, and Recreational Riding.

Animal Assisted Interventions

Animal Assisted Interventions include animals in health, education, and human services for the purpose of therapeutic benefits and achieving improved overall health and wellness.

We offer:
Animal-Assisted Activity, Animal Assisted Learning, and Animal Assisted Therapy.

Vocational Training

Vocational Training is a skill-based program intended to support young adults as they transition from a school setting to working in their community. The goal is to provide experiences that are transferable to each participant’s life and the development of employment skills.

Find out More

RIAD services are offered year-round, seven days a week, to children and adults starting at age four.

RIAD is open to the public. We provide services to RFK Community Alliance residential participants, as well as individuals from the community. We serve people from across Massachusetts. We also work with local schools and community agencies to tailor specialized programs to meet their needs and interests.

Rein in a Dream offers six sessions throughout the year on a rolling admission basis. The sessions follow the seasonal calendar and consist of 7-8 lessons per session.

New participants are welcome to join at any time provided there are open lesson slots. Registration and payment fees are prorated based on time of enrollment.

Contact Us:

Rein in a Dream
868 Main Street Lancaster, MA 01523
Cherie Ansin, Program Director


RIAD instructors are experienced, proficient, and hold advanced degrees in education, psychology, and equine sciences. As part of the RFK Community Alliance team, Instructors are trained in Trauma Informed Care, preparing them to work with individuals with complex trauma.

These credentials with long-term equestrian backgrounds enable our instructors to draw upon knowledge and methodologies which enhance the individual learning experience for each participants.

Instructors are certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and licensed Riding Instructors by the State of Massachusetts Department of Agriculture. Annually instructors are required to complete 24 hours of professional development to maintain their credentials.

Instructors & Facility

Our facility is located on 30 acres of farmland abutting lush hay fields, trails, and a rambling river. Our 11,000 square-foot indoor riding arena allows for year-round instruction. Participants also enjoy coming to our warm and welcoming antique barn, which was recently renovated and houses our new Learning Center. The barn and adjacent sheds are home to our horses, ponies, and a variety of small farm animals.

Rebekka has enjoyed and benefited from therapeutic riding for over six years at Rein in a Dream. Geronimo was the perfect horse for her, as he possessed a calm and patient demeanor, and was so accepting of her erratic movements and grooming style.

While typical exercise was difficult for Rebekka, riding strengthened her core and improved her balance. And she was able to experience the benefits of riding while thoroughly enjoying herself! She learned to take instructions and work cooperatively in a fashion that's difficult to achieve in other settings... there has been substantial carry-over to other parts of her life.
RIAD parent

Benefits and Goals

Equine Assisted Services (EAS)
is an umbrella term used to describe multiple services that professionals incorporate horses and other equines that benefit children and adults who present a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional conditions. EAS includes therapy, learning and horsemanship activities and interventions.

  • Increase confidence and self-esteem

  • Improved cognitive functioning

  • Improved communication strategies

  • Increased self-regulation skills

  • Increase social skills

  • Spatial awareness

  • Improved balance, coordination, strength, and endurance

  • Decrease in cortisol (stress hormones) levels

Animal Assisted Interventions

  • Increased engagement in activities

  • Animals/pets provide unconditional love and affection, fostering acceptance

  • Decrease level of general anxiety

  • Alleviate symptoms of depression

  • Mitigate levels of stress

  • Caring for pets create a sense of well-being, by facilitating routine and rituals in daily activity

  • Changes in physiological markers such as a decrease in cortisol levels, reduced heart rate and blood pressure

Rein in a Dream (RIAD) is proud to be a premier therapeutic horsemanship center, accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), the leading national organization that establishes the standards for the therapeutic riding industry.

For over thirty years RIAD has been an active PATH Intl. member and is the only therapeutic horsemanship center in Central and Greater Worcester MA with the Premier Accreditation status.Our instructors hold PATH International certifications and Massachusetts state licenses.

Your Donations Fund Essential Services

Donations to Rein in a Dream support both program participants and our animals in thriving and growing.