A Brief History of HALTER
Over the centuries, special bonds have existed between horses and humans. For the physically challenged, horses have offered not only a source of mobility, but also recreational and therapeutic opportunities.
Therapeutic Horseback Riding turned many heads during the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Madame Liz Hartel, a polio victim, who, had been told she would never walk again, had, through a riding program, developed enough strength to "walk away from her wheelchair" and won the Silver Medal in dressage. Soon thereafter, numerous therapeutic riding centers opened throughout Europe. During the 1970's and 1980's, centers opened across Canada and the United States.
In 1985, Lalage Warrington wanted to organize a Therapeutic Horseback Riding program at her farm in Campobello, SC. She asked Flo Erickson, a local Girl Scout Leader, to attend a NARHA, (now changed to Path International), conference with her in Atlanta, GA. Lalage and Flo returned and organized a Board of Directors with Ellen Hines Smith, Anna Gray Phillips, Christy Fister and Carol Fietel. Attorney Jack Lawrence donated his time to advise them with initial legal and taxation issues.
Soon HALTER moved to Shirley George's stables located on Highway 56 behind George's Feed Store. Shirley George had a riding ring built and generously supported the program with boarding arrangements for the horses. This location served the program well until it moved in 2006. Since its inception, HALTER has served students from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind (SCSDB). HALTER relocated on the SCSDB campus June 21, 2006 so the students could have increased riding time and not have to load onto buses and travel to the location near Pauline. Also, this location is more centralized for Spartanburg area residents who participate in the program. The School has agreed to a long term lease. In 2013, we added a large covered arena which made it possible for us to conduct classes in spite of the rain or the hot sun in the summer.
Programs have continued to expand since moving to SCSDB. We have Pony Club for SCSDB dorm students and then we added an afternoon session for more riders from the Spartanburg area. For a while we had an equine assisted psychotherapy program called “HALTER Educating Life Principles” or HELPs. In 2014, we added more programs. One was for adults to help those who may be fighting MS or Parkinson’s disease. Another is hippotherapy. We do this in collaboration with the therapists from Spartanburg Regional Hospital and their Pediatric Rehab Department. Our newest group to serve is students from McCarthy Teszler School.
HALTER has always been supported by volunteers from our community. These volunteers are vital to the success of HALTER. They give thousands of hours each year so we can provide a safe, fun and successful program.
Our many thanks go to all the donors, volunteers, Board members and staff who have given so much through the years to make HALTER a great success!