Shepard Meadows was founded in 2004 and incorporated as a non-profit the following year. For two years thereafter, dozens of volunteers worked to get the property ready for our riding program. Three parts of the property were targeted for this work:
the stable that would house the equine staff and provide hay storage,
the field to the north of the property which was to serve as a riding arena, and
the house located on the property which was to provide a caretaker’s apartment and office space.
Located on the top of Hill Street in Bristol, CT on the former Shepard Meadows Farm, we work on a 26-acre property that is free-leased to us by the Episcopal Church of Connecticut.
The 1810 farm house and outbuildings provide us with a uniquely serene setting that ensures a positive environment for all who visit. The Shepards bought the property in 1908. The Reverend C.N. Shepard was a Trinity College graduate and Episcopal Priest who taught at the General Seminary in Manhattan. He and his wife, Marguerite Dunbar used the farm as their summer home. There were three daughters, the last surviving was Katharine and upon her death in 1987, a 26 acre parcel of the Shepard estate was willed to the Episcopal Church of CT. On this land were 3 houses, 3 barns and a garage. The remaining 80 acres of pasture and woodlot were given to the Nature Conservancy and is cared for by the Environmental Learning Center located in Bristol.
Since its inception, Shepard Meadows has provided its programs on a semester basis in spring, summer and fall. Additional winter unmounted horsemanship programs and a five-day summer equine experience have been added in recent years. Our mission is to support the growth and well-being of all individuals, including those with special needs, and in doing so we have added veterans and youth development programs, as well as unmounted and mounted opportunities for all members of our community.
In the spring of 2021, Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. was renamed Shepard Meadows Equestrian Center, Inc. with a new logo – both of which reflected the growing and comprehensive services that the center provides.
Our facility continues to improve and expand – including an indoor arena for inclement weather. We are dedicated to providing recreational activities that are both fun and safe while committing to the professional standards of our accrediting organization, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International. We are a Premier Accredited Center and all of our instructional staff are certified as well.