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Guided Animal Intervention Therapy (GAIT)

Healing on horseback

The GAIT program, located at Seneca’s Canyon Acres Ranch in Anaheim Hills, is a therapeutic riding program that uses horses to support children in meeting their mental health & behavioral needs. GAIT serves children in the community who have mental health goals and specializes in treating children who have experienced trauma and loss and supports these children in being able to build trust, positive thoughts, and a healthy sense of mastery and control.

GAIT makes a difference! The GAIT program provides children the opportunity to heal by building a relationship with a horse while they learn to cope with and manage emotional triggers. GAIT’s therapeutic riding instructors are PATH certified and every lesson has a specific therapeutic goal paired with a horsemanship goal. Our facility provides opportunities for children to have lessons in the arena, do empowering activities in the round pen, or engage their senses with a trail ride on the sensory trail. This innovative approach allows horses to act as a mirror to the child’s feelings and a bridge to achieving their goals.

GAIT serves children who have goals associated with the following:
  • Depression & Anxiety
  • Trauma & Loss
  • Impaired Attachment
  • Opposition & Defiance
  • Social Skills
  • Frustration Tolerance
  • Confidence
  • Self-Esteem
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Decreased Isolation
  • Self-Acceptance
  • Impulse Control
  • Boundaries

What you can do to support GAIT today!

1. DONATE! Click here to support this remarkable program. 
2. VOLUNTEER! Click here for volunteer information.


For information on volunteering or to refer a child to Seneca’s GAIT program, please contact (714)944-1966 or GAIT@senecacenter.org.

  The GAIT program features therapeutic riding instructors certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH).


Meet our Horses!

Valkyrie “Kyrie”
Age: 8
Breed: Icelandic horse
Sponsorship: Available


Valkyrie, who goes by “Kyrie”, is a spunky pony with a big personality. She may be the smallest in the herd but she makes her presence known! She is a very special breed that originated in Iceland and is very sturdy.  Kyrie can perform two gaits in addition to the walk, trot and canter called the tolt and pace. She once starred in a commercial where she performed her trick of sitting on a hay bale!


I Padrini di Antonello “I Padrini”
Age: 10
Breed: Fjord
Sponsored by: I Padrini di Antonello


I Padrini is playful, engaging, and curious. He is happy being a child’s partner in games and being led through obstacle courses during sessions. His willing nature and calm demeanor make him an ideal therapeutic riding horse.


Age: 12
Breed: Quarter Horse
Sponsored by: Available


Sherman is 12 years old Quarter Horse and is 14.2 hands tall. He enjoys his “me time” in the arena and going on trail. He has a calm and steady demeanor, making any rider feel at ease and taken care of.


Little Red
Age: 26
Breed: Icelandic Horse
Sponsored by: Available


Little Red is the most seasoned and experienced therapy horse at GAIT. He worked for many years at the JF Shea Therapeutic Riding Program in San Juan Capistrano, and is now enjoying semi-retirement with us! Little Red loves to work with our younger clients. He is patient, forgiving, and takes care of his rider.  Little Red is “gaited”, which means he knows how to do the tolt and pace in addition to the walk, trot, and canter.


For more information on Seneca's GAIT Program, including volunteer and support opportunities, please contact (714)944-1966