The Watson Family CLemson Equine Assisted Therapy Program, (CLEAT)

charlie and conde


CLEAT is a therapeutic riding program that was started in the fall of 2012 for research by a multidisciplinary team from Clemson. Since that time the program has expanded is now offering therapeutic riding lessons to riders of all ages and abilities in the tri-county area.


The objective of CLEAT is first and foremost to benefit the special needs community by providing equine-assisted activities with therapeutic benefit. The utilization of the Clemson University Equine Center and Clemson University horses in completing the primary goal will also benefit the University and students by diversifying the programs offered and providing additional opportunities for student and community involvement.


CLEAT has several programs.  The primary program offers riding lessons to community members with special needs. The focus of these lessons is on learning horsemanship and progressing toward individual goals. CLEAT also has a partnership with the Clemson Life program. This program meets once a week for two hours. The students participate in both mounted and unmounted horsemanship lessons and learn how to take care of their horse as if it was their own. Finally CLEAT has a partnership with Central Elementary. Through this program, at risk youth get to spend 1 day a month at the barn. The horses help to teach them social skills and interactions as they interact with them from the ground and in the saddle.


CLEAT utilizes the same horses that are used by the Clemson University equestrian team (CUET) and the traditional lesson program. These horses are experienced school masters of various disciplines that are leased or donated to CUEC by their owners.

How you can help. . .

There are lots of ways to help the CLEAT program. You can serve by volunteering your time, spreading the word, or providing financial support. Each rider requires the assistance of at least 2 volunteers to ride. Donations are accepted to offset of cost of equine maintenance, provide scholarships for our riders and to support specific facilities improvement projects.  Please contact Meredith at for more information on how you can help.