Mission & History
Our Mission: To empower children and adults with disabilities to enjoy more active and fulfilling lives through therapeutic horsemanship.
Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding (CATR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies. Meta Carter and Eileen McGuffie, both accomplished equestrians, started CATR in 1991. With the help of Meta's brother, Heyward Carter, we received our 501(c)(3) status in 1992. That year, CATR also gained the title of "Premier Accredited Center" through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) . PATH Intl. provides standards for best practice and continuing education opportunities to help therapeutic riding centers all over the world maintain safe and successful programs. We are proud to have maintained our premier accredited status consistently since 1992.
By 1995 we had a Board of Directors, and in 1997 we received our first grant from the Joanna Foundation. We were then able to hire our first and current Executive Director, Murray S. Neale.
CATR's program began at Rhonda Tockmakis' farm in Mt. Pleasant with two students, a volunteer instructor, Andrea Smith, a few volunteers and wonderful horses donated by Rhonda. Along the way CATR set up shop at Meta's farm in West Ashley, Rosebank Farms, Seabrook Equestrian Center and Brickhouse Plantation Equestrian Center.
In 2004 we were able to purchase Brickhouse, and for the first time we had 12 acres on Johns Island to call our home! At this time, we established Brickhouse Equestrian Center LLC (previously known as CATR Farms), which is a for-profit entity under CATR's umbrella and exists solely for the support of the non-profit organization. Brickhouse Equestrian Center (BEC) is a full boarding and lesson facility that supports the horses and the maintenance of the farm. In 2009, we greatly expanded our property by acquiring 31 surrounding acres through the Green Belt program, making CATR's home a beautiful 43-acre farm.
Today, CATR employs ten PATH Intl. certified instructors that work together with 150 volunteers to serve over 140 children and adults with disabilities and 30 wounded military veterans each year.