How was Ridin' High started?
In 1993, a caring and generous woman, Nancy Eversole, wanted to share her love for members of the disabled community and her passion for horses. She began offering recreational riding at her barn to a handful of riders from a local group home. With just two horses and two riders, the Ridin' High dream began to unfold. Just five years later, a Board of Directors was formed and Ridin' High gained its tax-exempt status with the IRS.
Though many changes have occurred since Nancy's first dream to see handicapped riders on horseback, the spirit of her vision guides our growth. She continues to be involved as a friend and as a member of the Board of Directors. Ridin' High now owns its own facility on Long Creek Road.
Several capital campaigns--and VERY generous donors!--have helped build our 50' x 100' covered arena with a shed row consisting of office space, a parents' waiting room, two restrooms and a hay storage area.
Today, Ridin' High is a growing full-time program that regularly serves more than 20 riders with disabilities. We also serve 10 at-risk children at a local elementary school through our Pony Partners Program. The programs are supported by our herd of 10 therapy horses and numerous volunteers.
Ridin' High continues to seek funding to improve the facility. Our goal is to add an outdoor arena and a trail next to our creek so that we can provide therapeutic interventions using various settings.
How is Ridin' High funded?
We are fortunate (and grateful!) to have the support of a generous local community. Individuals and businesses have helped to fund the ongoing efforts of Ridin' High.
We have two primary fundraisers each year: A sanctioned Horse Show in the Spring and an Annual Championship Rodeo in November. In addition to these major events, we participate in fundraisers as opportunities arise. We also pursue and receive donations and grants from local and national organizations.
In May of 2012 the Board of Directors of East Tennessee Foundation approved a two-year continuation grant in the amount of $20,000 to Ridin' High Inc. from the Youth Endowment of East Tennessee Foundation. This grant is intended to support the program, "Hoof Beats for Youth", working with children from the Helen Ross McNabb Center which provides hands-on activities for at-risk youth through the philosophy that youth/equine relations can elicit changes in social behavior to youths who are struggling and looking for emotional well being. Learn more about this foundation at their website: www.easttennesseefoundation.org
Even with the generous financial and volunteer help we receive, the costs of a program like this are substantial. Like most other therapeutic riding programs across the country, our lesson fees only cover about 15% of program costs. Financial and volunteer support make it possible to impact these riders' lives and the lives of their families. Click on this link, You Can Help, to make a difference in someone's life.
Who can ride?
The minimum age for becoming a Ridin' High participant is 4 years old. There is no maximum age for participating in our program. We accept riders with all disabilities, providing that PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) does not list the disability as a contraindication to riding and a doctor signs a release indicating that, in his or her opinion, riding would be indicated for this person. We also have a 200 lb weight limit for riders. An initial evaluation completed by one of our certified instructors is required before anyone is accepted into our program. For specific information about our process, please read more in the "Riding" section of the website.
What is a "typical" therapeutic riding session like?
In general, if the riders are physically able to do so, they will learn to groom and tack the horse (put on the saddle and bridle). All riders wear ASTM/SEI approved riding helmets for all equestrian activities. We have a mounting ramp to make it easier for both the rider and the horse to achieve a safe mounting of the horse. Lessons, which are 45 minutes, generally begin with stretching activities and then progress to activities planned around the rider's goals. These include such things as: activities for gross and fine motor control, games to improve attention, obstacle courses to develop patterning and memory skills, developmental therapeutic exercises for balance, control and self-esteem.
When is Ridin' High open?
At the present time, we have classes year round. We are closed Wednesdays and Sundays. . To see our current calendar, please go to the 'Schedule' page of this site.
Does insurance pay for therapeutic riding? What about Hippotherapy?
It's up to the individual insurance company, of course, but as a general rule, therapeutic riding is not covered by insurance in the United States. Neither is Hippotherapy generally covered by insurance; however, a licensed therapist may be able to bill for it as a regular therapy session. PATH also offers a guide to billing insurance for Hippotherapy.
Where can I get more information about Therapeutic Riding?
You can get more information from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) website (www.pathintl.org)
or from one of the many therapeutic riding home pages and articles about therapeutic riding on the Internet.
Where can I go for training to become a therapeutic riding instructor?
PATH accredits programs that provide courses in therapeutic riding instruction. Most of these courses will give the test for PATH Instructor Certification upon completion of the course. To obtain a list of currently accredited courses, contact PATH by phone at 1-800-369-RIDE, or by mail: PATH International PO Box 33150, Denver, CO 80233. Some riding centers also provide instructor courses which are not accredited but do prepare students to take the registered instructor test from PATH.
How can I Volunteer?
We feel we have the best group of volunteers in East Tennessee! Additionally, Ridin' High provides training for volunteers. Whether its helping out in the office, with a fundraiser, or working directly with our students, you can truly make a difference! Please read more at this link: Volunteering to sign up for our next training session.
Do you take donated horses?
Yes, we often accept a donated horse. We need different types of horses at different times so please read more at this link: Donate A Horse and feel free to call us to see the current status of our needs.
If you would like to donate or adopt a horse clickHere.
The indoor arena--provided through the donations of generous persons--allows us to hold classes year-round.