Kelly Peterson, M.Ed.
Professional Therapeutic Riding Instructor
My name is Kelly Peterson and I’m the Founder/Executive Director for Acorn Hill, EAAT, Inc. We provide Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) for people with special needs in Central MN. Therapy goals/objectives are met with 1) In Barn therapy, the participant completes activities on the ground near and around the pony/horse or 2) Therapeutic Riding Lessons, those same goals and objectives are met while the participant learns to ride a pony/horse and 3) Hippotherapy or “treatment with the help of the horse.” Hippo is Greek for horse, and research shows that input from a horse's gait can teach the rider’s brain how to walk. Over the past 20+ years I have received a Master’s of Education degree in Special Education/Assistive Technology in 2000, become a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl) Therapeutic Riding Instructor in 2015 and our first rider started Hippotherapy sessions December 1, 2016 (click the Pilot Program tab). I have dedicated myself to facilitating Hippotherapy/Therapeutic Riding because of a near-fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver in 1988. Both of my legs and lower jaw were broken, I suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and during surgery my lungs started filling with fluid which could have been fatal; however, my body shut down into an eleven day coma instead. I missed Christmas and woke up December 27, 1988 thinking how cool it would be to put a child who couldn’t walk on the back of a horse. Over thirty years later we are serving all kinds of people with special needs through partnership with our ponies. Horses/ponies make connections with people that can empower and heal us like no other. We are always striving to make a difference through Equine Assisted Activities or Therapies, and invite you to learn more and lend your support.