The Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association

~ Grantville, Pennsylvania ~


The Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association (CATRA), founded in 1985 by Ben and Shirley Nolt, offers an opportunity for Capital Area residents from all generations with all types of special and typical needs to establish an atmosphere of education, support, respect, and health on an equestrian farm while offering a therapeutic riding experience to those able to benefit from it.



  • Brings together riders, volunteers, families, and friends from Dauphin, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster, York, Cumberland, and Perry counties in Pennsylvania
  • Serves over 200 riders from 7 Central Pennsylvania counties annually
  • Offers over 120 rider lessons per week; Nearly 4,000 rider hours per year
  • Logs over 36,000 volunteer hours with nearly 500 unique volunteers each year; CATRA is 100% volunteer staffed
  • Annually enters nearly 25 CATRA riders, supported by over 40 CATRA volunteers, in The Handicapped Riders Division of the Devon Horse Show (HRD)
  • Augments classroom instruction and offers service-learning opportunities to 8 colleges: Albright College, Elizabethtown College, Lebanon Valley College, Messiah College, Michigan State University, Millersville University, Penn State University, and the University of Minnesota
  • Hosts field trips from regional high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and various youth groups helping students to develop civic responsibility, embrace diversity, and improve altruism
  • Supports programming and additional educational opportunities through its “Miles For Smilesfund-raising campaign of an annual motorcycle benefit ride and 5K run
  • Provides opportunities for local human services agencies and programs such as Keystone Human Services, Case Management Unit of Dauphin County, Abraxas, Lutheran Social Services, and Philhaven to assist their adult and adolescent clients in the fulfillment of treatment goals focused on employment, socialization, empathy, and self-esteem
  • Sponsors 3 regional Benefit Horse Shows, hosted at Twin Brooks Show Grounds, for all area special-needs and typical-needs riders
  • Hosts the CATRA Summer’s End Equine Exhibition and Show
  • Supports its child and adolescent volunteers’ participation in local 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America chapters allowing opportunities to assist in rearing, caring for, and training of various animals prior to showing in local, regional, and statewide programs
  • Hosts nearly 40 civic and educational groups annually including the United Way Day of Caring
  • Presents the CATRA Miniature Horse Extravaganza of CATRA miniature horses, volunteer handlers, and lead trainer, Ben Nolt, at local and regional venues
  • Offers on site, no cost equine-related clinics and workshops to regional audiences
  • Hosts numerous Holiday and social events including a CATRA Christmas party and a Valentine’s bingo celebration