The Magic Horse Therapeutic Riding Center is located in Lakeside, CA, just east of San Diego, where the natural habitat of the surrounding area offers a unique opportunity for students to interact with horses and observe and appreciate the wildlife around them. A Center Member of NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association), our program offers therapeutic riding and Equine Assisted Activities for disabled people and their families.

Equine Assisted Activities (EAA) and therapeutic riding are effective in improving cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being for people with disabilities.

What We Do

We teach riding and horsemanship skills, including grooming, leading, feeding and riding. In addition, mounted games help students learn skills and provide all of the benefits of therapeutic riding.

A Personalized Approach


Each of our students is unique, so we match them to a horse that will be their best partner to help them achieve success in the program. This match depends on both the horse’s temperament and the size and build of the horse and how its movement will impact the rider’s mind and body. We begin by introducing each rider to the horses and evaluating their abilities, needs and temperament. Our students are paired with a horse to learn new skills and share fun, yet challenging experiences.

Personalized Student Plan

After a full evaluation, we set goals for the student. These goals help us to develop a personalized plan to improve a variety of areas, including:

  • Strength and balance
  • Social skills
  • Problem solving
  • Having Fun!

It’s Time to Ride!

Getting to know the horse and learning to ride begins the journey, and a partnership emerges between horse and rider. Learning to ride a horse includes:

  • Safety awareness: how to interact and behave around horses
  • Grooming: how to care for the horse before and after riding
  • Tacking: putting on a bridle and saddle
  • Riding skills: sitting, holding the reins, learning to stop, go, and turn with the horse
  • Advanced riding skills: learning leg yield, obstacle courses and turn on the forehand

Ka Lio

Ka Lio, a bay draft cross, was born in 2005 and is in training to work in lessons. He was acquired by the Center when he was nine months old because he needed a home. He is strong and wide and has terrific balance, which will help him be a great vaulting horse. His smooth, but bouncy movements will make it easy for riders to balance on him, while still getting all the benefits of motion. Our volunteers and staff are working with Ka Lio, grooming, leading and riding him to prepare him for his important work with our students.