About

Summit Equestrian Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the only place in Northeast Indiana where people of ALL abilities can experience the joy of therapeutic horseback riding.

Looking for a place to help a loved one struggling to reengage with civilian life? Want to get out of your wheelchair and ride a horse? Does your child need to work on listening skills and following direction? Are you interested in empowering people of all ages to try things they never thought possible? This is what we do.

At Summit Equestrian we pride ourselves in thinking outside the box to help people discover the best in themselves. Our facilitators, therapists, and horse professionals are united by our desire to help others and by our passion for providing high quality services.

“My client has made bigger breakthroughs in her 3 EAL sessions at Summit Equestrian than she has in the last couple years. I don’t know exactly what you are doing out there with those horses, but it works!”

- Lilli | Local counselor

We strive to be the best we can be so that we can give you our best. First, we are a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center, which means we have demonstrated excellence in providing quality equine assisted activities. Also, our professional team is certified by important organizations including PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International), EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association), and the AHA (American Hippotherapy Association). We use these organizations to stay current on the latest therapeutic developments and techniques, allowing us to provide the best services in the region and ensuring each client receives top-notch care.  

Our equine come to us from a wide variety of backgrounds, from retired show horses and racehorses to backyard buddies and BLM Mustangs. Many of them are rescues and lend a unique perspective to our sessions.

“Working with the horses is so different than my old therapy. There we talked about stuff & it usually didn’t work for me, here I have to try out new things & it makes more sense.”

- EAL Client | age 16

Take a minute to meet the team and learn more about who we are. We look forward to meeting you!

Allison Wheaton

Executive Director, PATH Reg Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist, EAGALA Equine Specialist

Allison grew up with horses and knows first hand the therapeutic benefits they bring to our lives. Allison was drawn to Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies because of the power that horses have to help people. She founded Summit Equestrian Center in 2010 with the mission to improve the lives of children and adults of ALL abilities through interaction with horses. Allison has been a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor since 2007 and is a certified Equine Specialist through PATH Intl and EAGALA, and has taken several courses through Natural Lifemanship. Having this wide variety of knowledge and experience allows her to be resourceful and help individuals with their unique circumstances. 

Her laid back style and contagious energy creates a barn atmosphere that is conducive to laughter, transparency, and fun. She is the fearless leader of an eclectic “herd” at Summit that includes: our horses, sheep, pygmy goats, a potbelly pig, chickens, a duck, cats, and her faithful dog Bernie.

“My son has made great progress with balance and core strength. I love how Allison incorporates nonverbal cues the horses give! Riding is the highlight of both my kids' week.”

- Sarah | Mother of 2 riders

Sue Shilts | Board Member

Role in community: owner of Just Sue Graphic Design for 30 years; previous board experience includes Big Brothers Big Sisters and Cancer Service of NE Indiana

Role at Summit Equestrian: board member and marketing committee 

Vision for Summit Equestrian: “My vision is to see the organization become a name everyone recognizes and to be able to build their own 'dream' facility to serve their clients.”

Michael Simpson | Board Member

Role in community: member of sertoma; board of directors - Vincent village homeless shelter; past treasurer of Fort wayne healthy cities; past treasurer of drive alive

Role at Summit Equestrian: CPA, accounting, finance committee

Vision for Summit Equestrian: “SEC on a sound financial basis with a reserve for major purchases or unexpected expenses.”

Sara | Board Member

Role in community: Retired health care reimbursement manager/consultant prior to moving here. Currently has limited volunteer roles in several organizations (membership at her church, Secretary/Treasurer for her neighborhood association, former Fort Wayne Astronomical Society board member).  

Sara's Note: I have allowed my not being able to work in FW combined with my limited mobility, to keep me at bay from “normal” social opportunities in FW.  Weird but true. SEC is helping me break this destructive behavior.

Role in SEC: Client (therapeutic riding) representative and Secretary of the Board

Vision for where SEC is growing: ”SEC serves an important role in the lives of its clients, whether Veterans, adults or children with physical and/or mental challenges. SEC’s horses are wonderful counselors, teachers and/or friends to the clients, I know as I am one. I support SEC’s continued growth in providing equine-assisted services to populations who deserve an opportunity to improve their lives. With the assistance of SEC’s amazing horses, staff and volunteers: my self-confidence grew (in riding, in conversations with others, and in participation in activities), my physical body/core strength improved, and my joy for daily living has been rekindled.”

Tiffany | Board Member