Inspiration Ranch Looking for New Horses and Volunteer Schooling Riders

By: Ashley Hamlin
| Published 11/09/2020

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THE WOODLANDS, TX - Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Inspiration Ranch is poised for growth and looking for the community’s help in the form of new horses and volunteer schooling riders for its Equine-Assisted Therapeutic Riding program.

“We hope to at least double the capacity of our therapeutic riding program in 2021,” says Operations Director Kim Vest, “to do that, we will need to add horses to our herd. To help us keep that herd in shape and prepared to serve clients, we also need some volunteer riders to help with schooling and conditioning.”

Inspiration Ranch's therapeutic riding clients struggle with an array of physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities. Therapeutic riding helps these clients by strengthening core muscles, building lung strength, developing hand-eye coordination, and stimulating cognitive growth. Currently, the Ranch serves 53 clients each week with 33 different diagnoses through this program.

The Ranch’s herd of therapy horses are a top priority for Ranch staff. Each horse must meet specific qualifications to join the herd, and that herd’s care and health are vital.

“We couldn’t do what we do at Inspiration Ranch without our horses,” says Vest, “they are incredibly important to us.”

Inspiration Ranch is looking for horses that are sound at the walk, trot, and canter with rhythmic and balanced gaits to join its herd. Preferably, the horses will stand between 14.2 and 16 hands high and be 8 to 18 years of age. All horses must be quiet, well-mannered, and accepting of assistive devices, equipment, toys, and props. They must work easily in hand, tolerating one or two people walking or trotting beside them, and be well-trained under saddle with experience performing calmly in a variety of venues. Forgiveness of inexperienced and unbalanced riders is a must.

Anyone willing to volunteer time riding Inspiration Ranch’s herd to help with conditioning has to have riding experience and have ridden actively within the past year. Riders must have at least an intermediate skill level and be knowledgeable with English and Western seats and tack. They will need to be able to improve the balance and movement of a horse and have a solid seat at a walk, trot, and canter. Skills at lateral work are a plus.

Anyone with a horse they feel would be a good fit for the program or who can offer their riding skills should contact Darlene Cary at darlene@inspiratinranch.orgemz to . All riders must pass a riding assessment before joining the schooling program, and every horse accepted must go through a vet check and 90-day trial period.

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