Katie McGowan

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Location: Old Westbury, NY
Founded: 1993
Industry: Equine-facilitated therapy, activities and education

Katie McGowan
Founder and Executive Director


HorseAbility offers a variety of programs to individuals with special needs, including therapeutic riding and hippotherapy. “Through the many different programs we offer, participants and their families have opportunities to enjoy time at the farm as either recreation, sport, hobby or therapy,” says Katie McGowan, founder and executive director of HorseAbility.

Fun Fact: For those who are interested in the Haunted Hay Barn but not as daring, HorseAbility offers a “Chicken Walk” with the lights on.

HorseAbility started with one horse, one rider and one volunteer. More than 20 years later, the organization is home to 21 horses, 300 weekly students and 200 weekly volunteers. A few years ago, HorseAbility was able to expand from a two-acre shared space onto 20 acres on the campus of SUNY Old Westbury. “We have a 15-year permit with the state of New York and have the first right of refusal. Our facility is solely dedicated to the mission of the organization,” says McGowan.

HorseAbility’s most unique fundraising effort is the Haunted Hay Barn, hosted in a century-old barn located on the nonprofit’s property. “More than 40 volunteer actors engage the public as they wait to enter, while they are walking through each themed, haunted room, and while they are waiting for the bus to drive them back to the parking lot,” says McGowan.