Located just a few miles inland from the Orange County coast, fanned on a summer's day by Pacific breezes, the Shea Center is a treasured hideaway. In this remarkable natural setting, the generosity of hundreds of donors is at work creating facilities that set new standards for client care, safety and environmental respect.
The therapy rooms in the Klein Family Education & Therapy Building are designed to meet clients' specific needs by allowing therapists and instructors a private place and proper equipment necessary for positive client interaction.
Our physical therapy rooms offer an area for warm-up and post ride treatments, which include stretching, range of motion activities, functional developmental skills and balance improvement activities.
The Center also has additional rooms for speech and language therapy and occupational therapy, which helps clients' restore physical function to perform everyday activities.
The Shea Center equestrian facilities are specially designed to serve every client, with safety and convenience. Our mounting ramps, for example, are constructed to provide safety for clients, staff and horses. Therapists and instructors use tacking exercises to meet client specific functional goals; i.e., improved coordination, fine motor control, and improved body awareness. We have equipment purposely built to accommodate these activities.
The Shea Center offers top level hippotherapy administered by licensed therapists providing significant improvements in fine motor control. Learning to hold the reins of a moving horse makes it possible to hold a pencil, a hair brush, and a smile. Teaching clients to extend their arms and reach out while moving through space on the back of a horse transfers directly into them playing with toys or drinking from a cup at home. Improved sensory input through movements of the horse allows the rider to integrate better body awareness and manifests in simple activities like walking and playing. Riding provides improved cognitive processing, focus, attention, and sequencing of events.
Achievement is important but so is having fun in an environment in which one is successful and completely accepted. Bonding with a large animal is empowering and exciting. Learning to steer a horse provides a feeling of control and builds self-confidence and self-esteem in a safe and enjoyable environment.
“When I’m at the Shea Center, it’s my time to relax. I know my child is safe and in the hands of experts. The Shea staff can handle kids at every level. It’s a relief. The place is warm, protected, friendly, and comfortable – like being in the country.”
Our senior therapists provide an initial client evaluation. They assess each client's needs and establish several medical and/or functional goals. Based on these findings the client is then assigned to the proper Shea Center program. Frequent follow-ups and reassessments are conducted in every program. Therapists, instructors and parents meet to evaluate progress against goals and chart a course for the future.
Rider parents are encouraged to take a full and active role at the Center. We can teach you how to participate in lesson activities as a volunteer or help you find a special place suitable to your interests. Many opportunities are available. Our program operates year-round.
The volunteering experience at The Shea Center is unrivaled in the equestrian community. Spread over seven acres, The Shea Center is comprised of a 40 stall barn, two covered arenas, an open arena, two round pens, a euro-walker for exercising horses and the 21,000 square foot Klein Family Education & Therapy Building.
There are many opportunities to volunteer at The Shea Center. Please click on this link for more information about how to become a volunteer.