When did BraveHearts start?

  • BraveHearts was incorporated into the state of Illinois in 2002, by founder Marge Gunnar and the program began in 2003. It is a 501c3 non-for-profit.
  • The program has two facilities (Harvard and Poplar Grove) operating year round, six days a week.

Services Offered?

  • BraveHearts is a PATH Premier Accredited Center, AHA member center, Special Olympics Illinois Equestrian Games hosting facility and largest veteran program in the nation offering equine-assisted activities.
  • Therapeutic riding, outpatient clinic specializing in hippotherapy, equine assisted psychotherapy, outpatient therapy clinic, therapeutic driving, operation mustang, veterans program, retreats, foundation horsemanship, volunteering, continuing educational experiences, conferences, workshops and certifications, trail rides, Special Olympics and horse shows.

Therapeutic Riding vs. Hippotherapy?

  •  The main difference is that therapeutic riding is a recreational activity instructed by a certified PATH Intl. instructor with the goal to learn or improve riding skills. This is paid out of pocket.
  • Hippotherapy is a treatment strategy that is used by a physical, occupational or speech therapist to address specific physical, occupational and speech goals by using the movement of the therapy horse to assist in meeting the goals. A prescription for physical, occupational or speech therapy must be provided. This is billed to insurance.

Do you take donated horses?

  • Sometimes, based on our need and requirements. Horses must be sound.
  • Interested in donating a horse? EMAIL US

Can I visit?

  • Please set up a meet and greet session by calling ahead to be sure we can have a staff member dedicated to answering your questions during your visit. EMAIL US

Can I make a donation?

  • Donate online or mail check made out to:
    7319 Maxon Rd
    Harvard, IL 60033
  • Donation envelopes available
  • Monthly online automatic donations available for set up on our website or EMAIL US for assistance
  • Sponsoring horse opportunities? EMAIL US
  • Fundraisers and events
  • Your email and/or mailing address will enable us to inform you on various campaigns.

Do you offer Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy in a clinic setting?

  • Yes, at BraveHearts we have a fully functional outpatient clinic at our Poplar Grove facility.
  • A prescription for occupational, physical or speech therapy must be provided. We are also able to process your insurance to determine if you have coverage that we accept.

How many people do you serve weekly?

  • Average 75 therapeutic riding lessons
  • Average 40 hippotherapy sessions
  • Average 100 veteran lessons – VETERANS PARTICIPATE WITHOUT CHARGE.

How many therapists do you have?

  • Nine therapists (PT, OT, SLP, and mental health clinicians) work at BraveHearts Outpatient Clinic
  • Most therapists are AHA Level and/or AHA II certified.

How many instructors do you have?

  • Nine PATH Intl. certified therapeutic riding instructors work at BraveHearts
  • Instructors range from registered, advanced, and master level.

How many horses do you have?

  • 45+ horses between both facilities.

How can I volunteer?

  • Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age to volunteer
  • Sign up for a volunteer training by calling 815-765-2113 or EMAIL US.
  • Check the website for training dates.

How much does it cost?

  • Therapeutic Riding costs $45 for 30 minute group, $50 for 30 minute private, $65 for 60 minute group, $80 for 60 minute private. Rates are subject to change please see our EAS Manager.
  • Our outpatient services using hippotherapy as a treatment strategy and equine assisted psychotherapy is billable through insurance, therefore rate is based on insurance.
  • Financial assistance for those in need is available. Please contact our Equine Assisted Services Manager via EMAIL.
  • EVERY participant at BraveHearts is subsidized in some capacity.
  • Veterans participate without charge.