Our Mission Statement
INTRA strives to provide the highest standard of equine-assisted activities and therapy (EAAT) to children, youth, and adults with a variety of significant life challenges in order to improve their long-term physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Our vision is to provide equal opportunities for people of all backgrounds to fulfill their potential using EAAT. We proudly serve a diverse clientele and aim to build long-term relationships, community and an open house setting at the ranch for all.
We achieve our mission by working with highly qualified and dedicated EAAT practitioners and volunteers, ensuring the highest safety standards, and providing meticulous care for our horses. INTRA aims to serve as a leading national center in EAAT practitioner certification and educational resources, keeping abreast of current knowledge, evidence-based practice, and research.
INTRA’s staff includes management, administration, EAAT practitioners, dedicated volunteers, and most importantly, our horses!
Yotam Sheffy – Executive Director
Yotam joined INTRA in 2008 as a therapeutic riding instructor. He went on to become the therapeutic riding instructor course administrator and today is INTRA’s executive director. Yotam grew up with horses, and has been working as a therapeutic riding instructor for more than a decade in Israel and around the world. With a background in welfare treatment programs for children, and extensive experience in program facilitation for humanitarian aid projects, Yotam works endlessly to provide care for vulnerable populations. Yotam also specializes in working with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Yotam is passionate about INTRA and its limitless possibilities.
Pliah Ben-David – Head Riding Instructor
Pliah has been part of the INTRA family since 2011. Certified at INTRA, Pliah began practicing EAAT in 2009 and has worked as a therapeutic riding instructor at several therapeutic riding centers nationwide. Pliah has trained with well known dressage trainers in Israel and in the Netherlands. She is a certified Therapeutic and Olympic riding instructor, specializing in dressage and horse training, and has experience in various riding methods such as vaulting and western riding. Pliah is INTRA's therapeutic riding instructor course administrator and is the program's head riding instructor.
Udi Ben Eliyahu – Accessibility Specialist
Udi is a veteran sports rider who is passionate about making equine assisted activities and therapy available to all. He specializes in developing equipment and providing activities for riders with especially limited movement and physical function. Udi also has extensive experience in competitive equine activities like horse ball, tent-pegging, chariot racing, and horse basketball.
Shani Shahar Shkedi – Office Administrator
Shani has been riding horses since age six, and has years of experience in riding, horse-care and competing. Shani joined INTRA in 2011. Starting out in stable maintenance, Shani gained certification in INTRA's Therapeutic Riding Instructor course and continued on with clients. Today, she integrates her background with office administration and allows INTRA to maintain it's smooth operations.
INTRA's Therapeutic Riding Instructors
INTRA's dedicated therapeutic riding instructors are committed to providing excellent and meaningful rehabilitative services. They are highly qualified and creative, integrating the athletic and therapeutic components of their role with great finesse. More than anything, they live, breathe, and love horses.
Galya Aderet – Resource Development & Partnership Coordinator
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Galya has always loved horses and the outdoors. With an MA in clinical psychology and a background in digital marketing, Galya approaches resource development with an informed and motivated perspective, eager to spread the word about INTRA's work and continue its growth.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Chair: Dr. Judy Silver
Secretary: Sandy Sella
Chaim Adini, Adv.
Dr. Arieh Avni, M.D.
History and Founders
In 1985, Dr. Anita Shkedi immigrated to Israel from the UK and became the trailblazing founder of EAAT in Israel. In 2000, Anita and her husband Giora founded INTRA as a national center for EAAT. Beginning at the Hadassah Neurim Village near the city of Netanya, Anita and Giora recognized a unique opportunity to encourage people with disabilities and their families to experience EAAT in a beautiful, soothing environment. At that time, this remarkable husband-wife team established the field of EAAT instructor training in Israel, and presently, most Therapeutic Riding Instructors working in Israel have trained under their guidance. In the summer of 2013, INTRA moved to its current home, Moshav Bnei Zion in central Israel, near the towns of Ra’anana, Kefar Saba, Hertzliya, and Netanya.
Born and raised in England, Anita introduced EAAT to Israel in 1985. She has a Ph.D. in EAAT Education, an M.A. in Education. She is a British State Registered Nurse, a State Registered Pediatric Nurse, a certified Health Visitor in preventive medicine, and a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. In 2016, Israel’s Wingate Institute awarded Anita the prestigious Award of Excellence from the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, recognizing her extraordinary contribution to the field of therapeutic riding. She served on the committee of the International Paralympics Equestrian Committee (IPEC) from 1996-2001. In 2012, Anita published her first book, Traumatic Brain Injury & Therapeutic Riding, followed by Horses Heal PTSD: Walking New Paths, in 2021.
The horses at INTRA come from all over the world and love their work as equine therapists! Some come from a sports or performance background, while others were raised in the world of EAAT. Our horses come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and personalities, ensuring that there is a horse to match the unique needs of every INTRA client.
Tiny, named for and sponsored by Temple Israel of New York, is a ten year old Welsh pony born in the north of Israel. Grey-white now, he will eventually turn all-white. He has a beautiful face and kind eyes. Tiny moves gracefully and encourages his young riders to discover their strength and motivation. He brings much joy and happiness to INTRA’s youngest riders.
Chika, or, as we call her, Chikolina Boss, is a Palomino quarter horse. An amazing therapeutic horse, she loves children even more than horses and is always happy to help adults as well. Originally a reining horse, Chika is able to do almost anything you ask of her, as long as you ask politely enough.
Starlight was born in 2003. She is a pinto with very special blue eyes and a sweeping, multi-colored mane. Starlight is a truly talented small horse who, after four years of training, became a dressage champion. She now works at INTRA, giving her riders a taste of what great riding is all about. She has also been trained for Western riding, so she can perform almost any movement in the arena: sideways, backwards, jumping, and more. Starlight is a calm, sure horse who loves to work and is a great favorite here at INTRA.
Sean, born in 1999 in Israel (a Sabra!) is a pinto with large dark-brown and white patches. He is a mixture of an Arabian and an English riding horse. Spirited and energetic, Sean benefited from a very active training program as a young horse Today he works well with our riders but doesn’t like sharing the spotlight with other horses.
FRIENDS OF INTRA
Friends of INTRA represents INTRA's interests in the United States and is registered in the US as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, EIN tax ID 26-1711502. Friends of INTRA connects individuals, families and communities with giving opportunities, ranch visits, fundraising programs, and event planning, raising essential funds for INTRA's work in Israel. To visit Friends of INTRA's site, click here.
MyIsrael creates a meaningful way to connect UK donors with inspirational charities in Israel (UK registered charity no. 1121960). MyIsrael connects givers to INTRA and specializes in Bar and Bat Mitzvah projects. Visit INTRA's MyIsrael page here.