HorseAbility began in 1993 when founder Katie McGowan lent her horse to a friend and physical therapist who used hippotherapy as a treatment modality for a child with cerebral palsy. When Katie saw the child's physical and emotional connection with the animal and how her treatment accelerated through the use of the horse, Katie knew she had found her calling. Combining her education, her love of children, and her relationship with horses, she forged her own trail to start this wonderful organization.
Katie is a certified instructor from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International accredited Cheff Center for the Handicapped in Augusta, Michigan. She is also a certified North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) instructor, a Special Olympics Coach and holds her B.A. in philosophy from and her M.A. in Elementary Education.
Aside from her affiliations with NARHA and PATH International, Katie is also a member of the United States Equestrian Federation, United States Dressage Federation, Nassau/Suffolk Horseman’s Association, and Long Island Business and Professional Women’s Association. In the past she received the Alumni Service Award from Molloy College and was chosen as one of the Fortune 52 distinguished women from the Long Island Press. In 2010, she was awarded “Woman of Distinction” by Sen. Marcellino.
HorseAbility converted from a sole proprietorship to a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) status in 2001. Since that time, HorseAbility has significantly increased its operations and expanded its organizational structure. HorseAbility enjoys the distinction of being the only PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers on Long Island