Physical therapist Maria Kyme had a dream to create a program that could benefit people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.

In 1979, Riding for the Handicapped of Western PA was one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. It was based on therapeutic riding programs that evolved in England after 1952 Olympic equestrian Liz Hartel revealed that exercise with a horse helped her to heal following polio.

In 2012, RHWPA opened a new facility near Allegheny County’s North Park. Therapeutic riding centers are found throughout the world.

Today, RHWPA has remained faithful to the vision of its founder, and is one of the few programs run entirely by volunteers and dependent upon donations. More than 100 riders, ranging in age from 3-18 benefit each year from RHWPA.