Our Mission

Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center's mission is to provide and promote therapeutic riding and recreation in a safe, professional, nurturing environment to the children and adults of the Portland metropolitan area. Enhancing the lives and well-being of people in our community including individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

Our new facility is open year round. Please call 503.593.7084 to make a donation, to volunteer, or to become a client.


Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center was founded in 2008 by Dr. Suzanne Cleland-Zamudio, a physician/surgeon in the Portland area who has served the needs of impaired children and adults in this community for over a decade. Dr. Cleland-Zamudio grew up in Oregon City on Sycamore Lane Welsh Pony Farm, raising and training Welsh and Arabian cross ponies. As a child growing up, she was aware of the therapeutic effect of animals on human emotion and disability. While seeking information about therapeutic riding for her patient’s as well as an impaired family member, it became apparent that the resources in the state of Oregon were limited.


Our state of the art facility was completed in July 2009. It has ADA wheelchair compliant access to all 3 structures. Our arena is well-lit and clean. We have several mounting methods available, including a wheelchair ramp and suspension lift for clients with mobility issues. Our bathroom is heated and clean and ADA compliant. In our facility office/tackroom, we have a full range of equestrian and adaptive tack. Comfortable and safe seating/viewing is available for the family of clients during the lesson. In 2011, we added to the facility a large hay and shavings building as well as an additional 3-stall barn to house additional therapy animals.

Therapeutic Benefit and Therapeutic Riding

Peer review research indicates that equine therapy is an effective method of therapy, especially when tailored to enhance a specific riders needs, whether it be for strength, balance, sensory integration or spatial awareness. Therapeutic riding is supervised, dynamic, recreational riding for children and adults with a variety of physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Lesson plans are directed towards the needs of the individual rider to enhance outcome physically, emotionally and cognitively. Our certified therapeutic riding instructors offer therapeutic riding lessons Tuesday through Saturday. Each session is one hour in duration and includes therapy that involves riding as well as grooming and tacking the horses. We also offer equine-related activities that do not involve riding. We offer programs and field trips for schools, day facilities, retirement centers and other treatment centers. We have OT PT & SLP that offer hippotherapy techniques using the horse as a dynamic platform. This type of therapy is coordinated through a client's medical insurance or paid privately. Our therapists who provide hippotherapy include occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech and language pathology. OT and PT are provided through Celebrate the Senses. We also provide non-riding day camps where clients with disabilities can participate in non-riding equine activities.

Veterans Program

Our veterans serve our country locally and abroad. They return to us and need our encouragement, support and resources. Our equine veterans program is a way that veterans can come together with other veterans with riding and non-riding curriculums and at no cost to them. They find at Sycamore Lane the community outreach that they need.

Click here to learn more about the Veterans Program


Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes the multidimensional movement of a horse. This strategy is used as part of an integral treatment program, with the ultimate goal of achieving measurable, functional outcomes. It is different that regular horseback riding and does not teach those skills. Why the use of a horse is special is because the gait of a horse is similar to the human gait and can thus facilitate corresponding movement patterns in the human pelvis. A horse’s walk provides valuable sensory input that is rhythmic, variable and repetitive. This dynamic movement, coupled with the traditional physical or occupational therapy techniques, can provide improved functional outcomes, emotionally and physically.

These types of therapy improves muscle tone, strength, coordination, balance responses, postural dysfunction and sensorimotor problems while providing the warmth, grace and healing effect of horses and ponies.

Conditions such as:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down’s syndrome
  • Developmental Delay
  • Genetic syndromes
  • Learning disabilities
  • Sensory Integration disorders
  • Speech-Language disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dizziness
  • ADHD

And a host of other physical and mental health issues significantly benefit from this type of therapy.

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy

Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy(EFP) is an experiential form of counseling that involves equines. The equine is a critically important partner in the work of EFP. The equine’s prey nature and intense sensitivity To subtle changes in their environment make them the perfect choice for professionals who teach a wide range of life and coping skills. This is a fast-growing discipline and has proven to be an extremely effective therapy.

The reason that clients struggling with mental health issues benefit from EFP is based on the idea that horses are extremely sensitive to emotional changes in a human being. Horses respond and react to people differently based on the persons current state of emotion. Since we know that emotional states in humans impact their physiology, it only makes sense that horses can smell or sense a person’s heightened or depressed feelings.

The horses act as a biofeedback machine, providing the client and the therapist with information regarding the client’s mood and feelings. If a client arrives anxious, the horse will respond a certain way. If the client is able to reduce their anxiety, the horses behavior will also change. Children and adults who have been abused or trafficked are also our focus. This method is unique, effective and the results are decidedly positive.

Click here to learn more about EFP

The Case for Funding

Sycamore Lane Therapeutic Riding Center is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) and we are seeking premier certification.