Interview with Erin Pashley, Executive Director/Founder
Q. What year did your business start?
A. Victoria Acres was formed in 2012 and became a 501c3 non-profit organization in 2014.
Q. Where are you located?
A. Victoria Acres is located at 3771A Western Turnpike, Altamont, NY. Our facility is located on 11 acres in the Town of Guilderland, directly on Rte. 20. Our location is easily assessible to residents from all over the Capital District. Victoria Acres is home currently to; 15 horses, 2 donkeys and 2 goats.
Q. What is your phone number and website address?
A. Tel: (518) 813-8805 website:
www.VictoriaAcresEquineFacility.org Follow us on social media – Facebook – Victoria Acres Equine Facility, Twitter at @VictoriaAcres, or on Instagram at
Or email the facility to learn more at
Q. What hours are you open?
Q. How and why did you get into the business?
A. Over 20 years ago our Executive Director/Founder, Erin Pashley saw first-hand what horses did for her stepdaughter. Horses helped her stepdaughter increase her self-confidence, self-esteem, taught her responsibility as well as giving her a purpose. In 2012 Ms. Pashley was given the opportunity to create a facility where horses could help individuals that faced many challenges in their daily lives.
Q. Do you have many regular customers? Is there anything specific that they are always coming in for?
A. Victoria Acres serves a vast array of individuals with equine-assisted therapies that face daily challenges such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Dandy Walker Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Prader Willie Syndrome, through our PATH Therapeutic riding lesson program. In addition to our therapeutic riding lesson program Victoria Acres Equine Facility is unique in that the facility offers Able-bodied Riding Lessons to individuals that require limited support to ride. This year has been monumental as it is the first time that we have had three of our PATH clients move up to our Able-bodied riding program and now are riding independently without any support.
For individuals not wishing to ride on the back of a horse Victoria Acres offers ground working lessons on Friday evenings from 6pm – 7pm. This program lets individuals interact with horses and complete all of the activities from the ground.
Q. Are you known for anything special?
A. Victoria Acres Equine Facility is a PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) Member Center. Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.), a federally-registered 501(c3) nonprofit, was formed in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs. With nearly 4,800 certified instructors and equine specialists and 873 member centers, nearly 8.000 PATH Intl. members around the globe help almost 69,000 children and adults–including more than 6,700 veterans and active-duty military personnel–with physical, cognitive and emotional challenges find strength and independence through the power of the horse each year.
Victoria Acres Equine Facility in 2014 chose to become a PATH Center because of their industry guidelines for teaching. Our PATH Certified Instructors maintain the safest, most ethical and effective lesson programs possible for our clients. Each of our Certified Instructors have completed online training courses, completed a minimum of 25 of teaching hours under a mentor, attended a PATH Intl on-site Registered Instructor workshop and an on-site Registered instructor certification.
Once an instructor is Certified, PATH requires the instructor to renew annually and complete 20 continuing education hours to include active participation, professional development and enhancing the instructor’s skills both personally and professionally.
Q. What do you love most about the business?
A. What I love most about our organization is the opportunity to watch daily how our herd of horses change our client’s lives. From child speaking their first word on the back of one of our horses, to watching from week to week a client increase their self-confidence and being able to ride independently with limited support. It is truly a blessing to be part of those changes.
Q. What do you think is your biggest challenge with the business?
A. One of the biggest challengs Victoria Acres has faced since our inception in 2012 is not having an indoor riding arena. Not having an indoor riding arena limited our services to only 7 months out of the year, which left our clients starting over in their lesson programs every Spring. In September of this year Victoria Acres purchased our property and was able to construct an indoor riding arena. Giving our facility the ability to offer year around lesson programs.
Q. What do you want the community to know about you?
A. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Victoria Acres relies on the support of our community to use horses to change our client’s lives. Our fees for our equine-assisted therapy programs covers only a portion of the actual cost of running our facility. Donations bridge the gap between the fees we charge and the actuals costs to our organization.
Victoria Acres Equine Facility is only able to offer our life changing lesson programs with the support of volunteers from our community. With the addition of our indoor riding arena, Victoria Acres will be expanding our programming and will need to increase our volunteer base. If you have 2-3 hours a week to help Victoria Acres change our clients lives you can go to our website at www.VictoriaAcresEquineFacility.org, under the Volunteer Tab to complete the Volunteer Registration Forms.