Carlisle Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Through our mission, we promote the health and wellbeing of children and adults with disabilities by enabling their access to the area’s finest equine-assisted therapies and programs at Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports in Lyman, Maine. Riders with special needs apply to the Carlisle Charitable Foundation for scholarship support to enroll in programs which include Hippotherapy, Adaptive Riding, and Equine-Facilitated Therapy & Wellness Groups. Riders with disabilities who have competitive sports goals can receive financial support for Team Carlisle, Para-Dressage Sports, and ongoing education and training through visiting clinicians.

About Carlisle Academy:

Carlisle Academy is committed to providing the highest quality outcomes to riders of all ages and abilities. As a PATH Premier Accredited Center and a CHA member center serving over 350 participants per year, Carlisle Academy offers several first-rate programs including the largest hippotherapy program in northern New England, the first approved equine program in Maine for disabled veterans, and pioneering education in para-equestrian sports. The Academy is led by the Head of School, an Advanced Level PATH Instructor certified since 1995, maintaining a strong belief in an inclusive environment, a collaborative team approach, and program excellence. All instructing staff are nationally certified through either the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) or the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), with additional specialty certifications and training in Vaulting, Carriage Driving, Mentoring, and Para-Dressage. The clinical team is led by a full-time occupational therapist, a practitioner of 35 years earning the esteemed credential of a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists (HPCS) by the American Hippotherapy Certification Board, which represents the highest level of credentialing in the field. Additional on-staff occupational and physical therapists hold their HPCS credential or certified AHA training in hippotherapy, and hold additional specializations in Sensory Integration and Neuro-Developmental Treatment certifications. Professional horse handlers are on staff to long line and manage horses, creating safe, consistent lessons and optimal outcomes for the riders. The team is rounded out by lesson apprentices and clinical interns offering side walking support, while gaining professional mentoring in therapy and education. With this composition of highly talented program staff, Carlisle Academy has emerged as a center of excellence and leader within the industry.


Carlisle Charitable Foundation’s roots go back to 1998 when the program was first established as the Equest Therapeutic Riding Center, co-founded by Nick and Sarah Armentrout on their Spring Creek Farm in Lyman, Maine. For twelve years, the program served the community with first-rate equine-assisted activities and therapies, providing services to over 500 children and adults with emotional, intellectual, and physical disabilities.

In 2011, with an eye to future sustainability, a new business model was adopted. Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports, LLC, was launched, building upon the success of Equest while expanding into new areas of training and leadership and integrating traditional and para-equestrian education. Today, Carlisle Academy continues to be an industry leader, providing exceptional programming, innovative curricula, and sustainable business practices.

Under the new business model, the Equest Foundation also was launched in 2011, maintaining 501(c)(3) status and assuming sole responsibility for the philanthropic fundraising mission. A year later, in a move to better reflect the unique partnership between the two organizations, Equest Foundation became Carlisle Charitable Foundation. Despite the change of name, our mission remains the same: to raise scholarship funds for disabled children and adults participating at Carlisle Academy.