Beyond Wishes Therapeutic Riding Program
Windle and Toni McQuaig came to West Virginia in 1992 with their 2 1/2 year old daughter, Mareelyn. They took one look at "the farm" on a mountain top outside of Hinton and knew it was home. They knew it was going to be not only their home, but for their horse Rio, so they named their new home "Rio's Place".
The McQuaig's have been contributing to the community for many years. Toni started the local 4H club almost 17 years ago and continues to be very active in it, ensuring that the young people of Summers County have access to all the benefits that the organization can provide to growing kids.
October 2006, when it came time to retire Mareelyn's horse Hanna, the McQuaigs decided to donate her to the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center, located at Slippery Rock University, PA. After Mareelyn visited Hannah in her new home, she discovered the overwhelming difference horses can make in the lives of individuals with special needs. She decided she wanted to dedicate herself and her career to making a difference using her talents to provide therapeutic riding instruction in her own community at Rio's Place.
Toni, a long time Certified Horsemaster, whose career was also in horses; and Windle, a retired veteran and retired Emergency Services Supervisor, now the organization's Executive Director, were more than excited to support Mareelyn's dream and began the long road to becoming a certified member of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl). Now co-founders of Beyond Wishes Therapeutic Riding Program (BWTRP), they work as a family for families and wanted to give back to the community, have a purpose and promote Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies(EAAT).
To be a PATH certified instructor, Mareelyn spent two years taking courses and travelling over 7,000 miles to different accredited centers to do over 750 hours of volunteering. She became certified as a Registered Level Therapeutic Riding Instructor in August 2010. Toni McQuaig received her certification in November 2012, two years after the program started.
BWTRP began its first season in April 2011. Opening their farm and home to individuals with special needs has put the McQuaig's on an endless journey. Every year, our Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) program has grown with the support of the community and many different foundations. It's an all-volunteer program and could not function without the dedicated volunteers. All money received, goes directly back into the program for the care of horses and other expenses.