Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Lidia Lopes

Lidia joined Rising Tide in 2015  came to Rising Tide in 2015 as a volunteer. Her Fundraising enthusiasm gained her a seat on the board of directors, and today she is on payroll as Rising Tide's bookkeeper (and so much more!). 
Lidia's son had  difficulties in school  and was diagnosed ADHD, so he joined the program at Rising Tide. Chase fell in love with the horses and the instructors. It turned into a great connection all around. The program was such a great fit for him!
Chase loves that his mom works for RT and loves to visit and feed the horses. 

Ω Dementia

Ω Multiple Sclerosis
Muscular Dystrophy
Postural Asymmetry
Sensory Integration Disorders
Speech/Language Disorders
Spina Bifida
Spinal Cord Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injury/Stroke
Visual Impairment           

Ω Deafness​

Ω Depression

Developmental Delay
Down Syndrome
Emotional Disabilities
Impaired Coordination
Impaired Sensori-Motor Function
Learning Disabilities        
Mental Disabilities

What is therapeutic riding?

The Rising Tide Team

La Classy

...but we just call her "Classy." She's a 30-year old Thoroughbred. While this breed is known for racing, Classy has never been a racehorse.

She has been with Linda, our program director, for 27 years. And "classy" describes her to a "T"--she's calm, sweet and very affectionate to those who show kindness to her. Classy is usually the first horse to greet you when you arrive at the barn. She is not an experienced  therapeutic horse,  but has been enthusiastic about being trained for our therapeutic programs.

She's ga-ga for geldings!

Since 1969, PATH Intl. (formerly known as NARHA) has helped therapeutic riding programs flourish throughout the country. PATH Intl. administers a certification program for riding instructors and provides guidelines for selecting riders for whom for therapeutic riding activities are suitable and appropriate.

Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center Inc. is currently a PATH member with certified riding instructors.

Who is served by PATH International's members?
Individuals with the following disabilities commonly participate and benefit from equine facilitated therapy and activities:

"In riding a horse, we borrow freedom.​"


Company Profile

Don't Tell George

Otherwise known as George.,this charming, easy going soul is our newest member of the family. He came to us from Pennsylvania, from people who took amazing care and helped nurture his quiet and easy-going personality.  He is a 14 year old Freesian Thoroughbred Draft mix.   He stands at 16.1 and is breathtaking to behold. George has some therapeutic riding already under his belt, and we are excited to get him into our programming..

The girls are crazy about him, but Spice is feeling a little jealous!  

Therapeutic horsemanship encompasses many activities that partner with the horse. Based on input from therapists, teachers, doctors, and parents, the client's individual goals are designed to complement ongoing therapy and education.  Benefits of the equine experience are threefold: 

1. Physical - The motion of the horse stimulates the rider much like the motion of walking. Riding also relaxes and strengthens muscles while improving muscle tone, posture, balance, joint mobility, and coordination. 

2. Emotional - Interactions with horses provide a noncompetitive setting for learning new abilities, self-discipline, and improved concentration which all help in building self-confidence. 

3. Social - Horseback riding nurtures a positive self-image. Riders and handlers experience independence plus a sense of being part of a team.​

Board of Directors 

Linda Wanamaker - Program Director

Joan Richards - Instructor

Lidia Lopes - Bookkeeper

- Helen Thompson

Joan Richards

Joan was raised on the Vineyard. Since she was a young child, Joan has been obsessed with horses. Growing up in Vineyard Haven, she started taking lessons at age 7 at Tashmoo Farm.  It was her second home. Joan came to Rising Tide as a volunteer 7 years ago, and has been instructing with us for over 3 years. She is an integral part of Rising Tide, but prefers to be behind the camera… or a horse!

Susan Fieldsmith, Board President
Bertie Martin, Treasurer

Glynis Hart, Secretary

Emma Vancour     
Lucy Menton 

Jen Hannah

Ariel Thomas


Noble is approximately 26 years old. He is a gray Percheron cross. (In the horse world, white horses are technically called gray).  He has a past career as a hunter jumper and a lesson horse. Noble has been with us since 2008, and is considered the “head honcho” of our herd. He’s retired from therapeutic riding, but loves a trail ride and showing off in the arena with an experienced rider.

He's our ambassador of handsome-ness! 


Our beloved beauty Deborah is 25 years old. She has been with Rising Tide since its inception. Owned by Susan Fieldsmith, Rising Tide's board president, Deborah is an Australian bred Halflinger from Wadek-U-Lesa Farm in Quebec, Canada. The Halflinger breed originated in Tyrol, Austria in the 1800s from the crossing of a ½ Arab stallion and a refined Tyrollean mare. They were originally used as all-around farm horses.Today’s Halflinger has evolved into an excellent pleasure horse. They are calm, good natured, sure footed, and willing to work. Deborah demonstrates all of these qualities and more. She is deeply loved by our riders, volunteers, and staff. She is our star!

She's the gassiest of all the horses!

Ω Alzheimer's

Attention Deficit Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Cardiovascular Accident/Stroke
Cerebral Palsy

 Cystic Fibrosis


This sweet guy is a chestnut Quarterhorse. He is 17 years old. Spice was formerly a jumping horse. While retired from his jumping career, he is an outstanding therapy horse. He even has shown talent in basic dressage movements. He is a sensitive, intuitive, and overall great guy! He has lots of get-up-and-go and is known for his “bouncy seat.”

He has a crush on Classy.

Linda Wanamaker

Linda came to us from Warwick, NY. She has worked as a riding instructor for 25 years, and in 2013 she was certified by PATH as a therapeutic riding instructor.  Linda is currently working on her certification as a specialist in mental health and learning.

Linda also brings Classy, a 30-year old thoroughbred, who enjoys all the attention at Rising Tide! Linda brings passion and enthusiasm to Rising Tide. She helped institute the volunteer riding program where RT offers discounted riding to our volunteers. She created the 55+ (Hot to Trot) program which had its inaugural session this fall with residents from Windemere. It was a huge success.

Rising Tide Therapeutic Equestrian Center


Founded: 2007

Founder: Vickie Thurber

Our vision: At Rising Tide, we strive to expand the physical, emotional, and personal boundaries of each and every client. Our therapeutic program includes children and adults with a wide range of challenges. The benefits of equine-assisted activities are as numerous as the types of disabilities and conditions that participants present.