COVID-19 Virus : Program Update
We hope you are safe and well in these difficult times. We wanted to give you a quick update on our reopening and when we expect to get our riders and patients safely back in the saddle and our wonderful volunteers back to assist.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses many challenges for our riding program and has led to many, many changes everywhere and at Ride On too. All of our lesson operations ceased on March 12 and only on May 26, did we reopen for a handful of independent riders at our Newbury Park facility. Last week we began to serve another handful of independent riders in Chatsworth. At the present time volunteers have not yet come back to Ride On - all horse care, grooming, tacking and barn chores are being taken care of by Ride On staff members to ensure safety and wellness for all.
Before the pandemic, Ride On served about 240 individuals with disabilities. Many require close assistance which, in the age of social distancing, is simply not safe for rider or volunteers. As we began to craft reopening plans we divided our riders in to six groups, Phase 1 - 6. At this time we are in Phase 1 and are offering lessons for those students that are completely independent and need no physical assistance from their instructor or volunteers therefore ensuring that we are complying with social distancing requirements. We are planning on offering lessons to those riders in Phase 2 next week and Phase 3 shortly after.
Below we've laid out all the phases so you can see how we're approaching this. The first three phases involve independent riders - either completely independent or requiring only a few minutes of help and no volunteer assistance.
Phases 4, 5 and 6 are much more challenging. All require volunteer assistance and as of right now we have not invited our volunteers back to Ride On. We cannot serve riders in these phases without volunteers and we know there will be some risk to be within 6 feet for up to an hour. So far, we have not safely resolved this dilemma - we do not have a specific time frame for starting to serve riders requiring leaders and side-walkers however we are cautiously optimistic that it could be early July.
As we begin to move through the phases we will be directed by facts and figures provided by the CDC and County officials. However therapeutic riding poses a mix of positive and negative risk factors: we are outside and horseback riding is naturally socially distant (both good) but we require a lot of personal help to keep everything safe (a negative during a pandemic). We want to keep everyone safe AND we want to welcome back our riders and volunteers. Please be patient as we work through our new COVID-19 policies, safety and sanitizing procedures - we can't wait to welcome you back but we need to be sure we are safe and healthy!
Below is our phasing approach. Please don't hesitate to contact Sara (Sara@RideOn.org) or Bryan (Bryan@RideOn.org) with any questions.
Phase I: Completely Independent riders. Meaning they mount and dismount horse alone, can adjust their stirrup length while on the horse by themselves.
Phase II: Mostly Independent riders. Need hands-on assistance of no more than 5 minutes to mount and dismount, adjust stirrups and tighten girth. No volunteer involvement needed. All parties will wear masks while within 6 feet. Riders may unmask once settled and while riding.
Phase III: Mostly Independent riders who might require hands-on assistance during lesson for any physical or behavioral considerations. May require instructor intervention for safety. All parties will wear masks while within 6 feet. Riders may unmask once settled and while riding.
Phase IV: Riders who need a volunteer to lead the horse for the duration of their lesson. Can also apply to riders who use a "spotter".
Phase V: Riders who need at least a two person assist. This means a leader for the horse and one side-walker (or instructor) for safety.
Phase VI: Riders who require maximum assistance. This means a leader and two side-walkers (one can be the instructor). Therapy Services falls into Phase VI. Patients will require a horse handler, side-walker and therapist to conduct each session.
Ride On teaches adaptive horseback riding to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. We also provide physical and occupational therapy, specializing in using the movement of the horse to improve specific medical conditions. Ride On Celebrates 25 Years of Service, Their Time To Ride
What We Do
Founded in 1994, Ride On has given over 117,000 safe, effective and individualized lessons and therapy treatments and currently serves 225 individuals each week. Ride On teaches adaptive horseback riding to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities and we provide physical and occupational therapy specializing in using the movement of the horse to improve specific medical conditions. Ride On is the only nationally accredited program offering Physical and Occupational Therapy in the Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. We operate in two locations: serving the Conejo Valley, our 13-acre Newbury Park site is operated in partnership with the Conejo Recreation and Park District while in the San Fernando Valley, our Chatsworth location is home to our 3-acre ranch.About Us