I have known that RideAbility was coming to our area for over a year and I am SO thrilled that this amazing facility is open and that I can introduce you to Wendy the owner of RideAbility. Not only is Wendy brilliant, she is compassionate, dedicated and determined to make sure children with special needs of all kinds can take part in riding therapy. It is truly my honor to introduce Wendy and RideAbility to you! Please make sure you spread the word!
What did you decide to launch RideAbility?
As the founder and Executive Director of RideAbility Therapeutic Riding Center, my vision began 10 years ago when I was able to witness first-hand the power of therapeutic riding. I watched a child born with a physical disability learn to walk with the help of a horse and expertly trained staff. Being an equestrian, I was privy to the extensive healing horses can provide to special needs children and adults.
What’s RideAbility’s overall mission?
We wanted to offer a wide range of horse-related programs to children, adults and families with special needs. At RideAbility, we rid the mundane tasks of standard therapies by offering a rich and success-driven program. Through lessons and exercises such as relay races, obstacle courses and ring toss, riders learn right-left discrimination, sequencing, language development, listening skills and cooperation while enjoying a pleasurable experience that increases self-esteem, concentration and confidence.
What is therapeutic riding?
Therapeutic horseback riding is used to teach riding skills to people with disabilities. Research shows that therapeutic riding students can experience physical, emotional and mental rewards. These riders experience increased balance, muscle control and strength along with increased confidence, independence, and self esteem.
Who can benefit from therapeutic riding?
Therapeutic riding extends its benefits to individuals battling many physical and mental conditions including Autism, PTSD, Down’s Syndrome, learning disabilities, ADD, hearing impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, anxiety, depression, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Integration Disorder.
Do you offer private and group lessons?
Our lessons are designed to meet the needs of each individual. Each rider is encouraged to be as independent as possible while both on the horse and off.
We offer both private and semi-private lessons. Most students begin with private lessons to assure a solid foundation in the basics of riding skills. Semi-private lessons consist of 2-4 riders and offer our students a great socialization experience. During semi-private lessons, additional volunteers are present to provide the individual attention that is needed for each rider.
In addition to riding lessons, all riders are encouraged to participate in two “at home” Horse Shows. All of our riders take home ribbons and trophies and great memories of a fun-filled day. Horse show classes are age and ability appropriate and designed for 100% success!
What is life like for a RideAbility horse?
We like to think of our center as the finest equine retirement home around! Our horses typically serve two to three participants per day, five days per week. They receive routine farrier care, vaccinations, regular worming and dental care. We offer complementary therapies such as chiropractic and massage. We are fortunately able to have our five horses turned out 24 hours per day in small herds at our facility. Daily care and feeding are provided by the barn staff and a dedicated group of our amazing volunteers. Our horses are so loved!!
Can you tell us a little bit about each horse?
Romeo is our “Off The Track” thoroughbred / Hunter Jumper show horse. If you raise his upper lip he has a tattoo that shows he used to race. He loves to be groomed, and loves to snack on carrots and peppermints.
Mabel is a beautiful mare (girl horse) and was a show horse in the Hunter/Jumper division prior to joining RideAbility. Mabel loves kids and a good snuggle. Carrots are her favorite treat.
Rigatoni (Riggy for short) is Mabel’s best friend. A super sweet guy who loves his morning trail rides.
Shadow was a jumper show pony before making his way to RideAbility. Outgoing, attention-seeking with a zest for life, he also loves his carrots & peppermints.
Dandy is our most gentle and loves kids. He’s sweet, kind and craves affection.
How can people get involved?
RideAbility is a not-for-profit organization. We depend almost exclusively on volunteers to help carry out the daily functions of our program. The services provided by volunteers are essential to the success of all our students, and to the continued success of RideAbility’s programs.
We are always looking for volunteers to help grow our program. We welcome a variety of dedicated and talented individuals. Here at RideAbility, no talent goes unrecognized and experiences with horses is not a requirement.
Help us in the Barn & In the Ring (Training in all areas provided):
Leading or side-walking during lessons
Help Us in the Office:
Organize Special Events & Fundraisers
Prepare Mailing Lists
We are currently hosting volunteer orientation workshops. All info can be found at http://www.rideabilitysc.com/volunteer-orientation-january-2013.php
How can the community donate?
We offer a variety of options on the donation front and even the smallest of donations can make a BIG difference:
Just $15 can purchase any number of items that are used in our horse care kits. Items such as curry comb, or a grooming brush, or maybe even a couple jumbo-sized bags of carrots so that our riders can reward their well-deserving equine partners after each lesson.
$25, in the hands of one of our creative instructors, can go a long, long way in purchasing many of the everyday items that we use to provide tactile challenges and fun learning experiences to some of our riders with special needs.
$50-$100 can easily provide for the feed, hay and nutritional supplements that keep our herd members healthy and happy.
$250 will sponsor a horse and all their needs for a month.
To learn more about donating, click here http://www.rideabilitysc.com/donations-needed-for-success.php
How did you pick Clover, SC?
My family had relocated from New York to South Charlotte five years ago and our goal was to be close. We found the grounds at Cherokee Farms to be unbelievably suitable not only for our home, but also for all of RideAbility’s needs.