I am going to have to spend more time talking to my patron to see exactly what she wants. She definitely has very specific ideas about what she wants from a therapy horse, she has been involved with using horses for therapy for over 20 years. She has started 2 other therapy centers in other parts of the country that are still operating, she wanted to start one more and get it stable to operate without her before finally retiring. Her horsemanship background is vaulting, meaning she wants the horses comfortable with all sorts of ground work and people being all over them.
The horses she is considering are not young horses, they just haven't been used for anything because they have been waiting for homes in the local rescue. Many of them are very well adjusted to human contact and even accustomed to quite a bit of commotion, they just need jobs and time to learn their jobs. She hasn't applied for the grant to start the riding center yet and she wants to get the horses in training now, so I am assuming she plans on each horse having many months(possibly a year+) worth of training before trying to use them in therapy.
When I was breakin TBs for jump racing - I was often handed horses with plenty of handling on the ground, it would be take me a minimum of 6 weeks to correctly break these horses to the basics of racing... which I admit is quite basic... they learn how to go, turn and stop. The times I was handed an unhandled youngster it could easily take 8 - 12 weeks to get the job done... so that is already 3 months out of the year gone. While I understand those horses are not necessarily young - they are unhandled and bring baggage. You don't know what has happened with them previously and one could very well be a ticking time bomb.
You want these horses to be calm, confident and comfortable with every and all situations. A year... IMO may not be enough time to help these rescue horses become the special horse you need them to be. They will not have enough life experience to take the completely random and unpredictable behaviour they are going to receive without batting an eyelid. A good therapy horse is a special horse, with personalities and temperments that are worth their weight in gold. There is nothing wrong with having some young horses in the program to bring on, but to have a reputable, safe place for these riders I think you guys need to rethink your plan.