MISSION & PROGRAMSMission:
Ride On St. Louis exists to promote health and enrich lives through love, joy and holistic healing. We are a comprehensive conditioning and learning non-profit organization serving people with health complications through our partnership with the horse. Our health and wellness programs improve quality of life through individualized plans.
Our organization conducts Equine Assisted Services in accordance with the EQUUS Foundation Guidelines on Qualifications of Organizations Conducting Equine Assisted Services (EAS)
Our organization provides community outreach and/or public education programs involving horses.
Our organization is directly responsible for the care and shelter of equines involved in our programs.
100% of our total programs and services are horse-related.
Our organization does not use satellite, overflow, foster, and/or outreach facilitiesEquine Assisted Services (EAS):
Our organization provides the following Equine Assisted Services (EAS):
Therapeutic Unmounted Services1:
Total number of Equine Assisted Service Providers at Private Residence in Cedar Hill
1. Marita Wassman, ATRI, CTRI
Private Residence in Cedar Hill
Therapeutic Unmounted Services
DEGREES, LICENSES AND/OR CERTIFICATIONS
Director, Founder, credentialed Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Mentor with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) has 36 years’ experience in equine assisted services and 42 years’ experience in a variety of equestrian enterprises. Marita trained and worked with top equestrian professionals such as Liz Young Millard (’68 United States Olympic Equestrian team), Otis Brown Stables, Pecan Tree stables and LePere Thoroughbred Training Center. These equestrian facilities included disciplines in hunter, jumper, dressage and conditioning thoroughbreds; she gained knowledge in breeding, foaling, training and designing youth and adult riding programs for typically developing individuals and those with special needs. Marita is a member of the American Hippotherapy Association and PATH Intl.
Overview of our programs involved with providing EAS to individuals with special needs:
Barn Buddies - A skills program providing in-depth equine education, hands-on application and accountability for people with disabilities, health-related obstacles or hardships. The program focuses on skills inherent to the equine industry and includes study and performance in husbandry, handling, grooming, sanitation management, first aid, record keeping and team management skills. The goal of the program is to address, relate and achieve personal goals relevant to skill development, accident/injury recovery and coping, and/or emotional, cognitive, physical or behavioral improvements while producing confident individuals knowledgeable in equine care who can independently complete daily equine feed and sanitation requirements at Ride On St. Louis. Typical applicants are adults who have or have had professional job experience and are struggling to return to that job or meet current job demands; those who are developing or regaining vocational skills; those who can perform barn chores unattended (clients remain under direct supervision with staff until individually defined levels of competence are achieved); and those who are able to drive themselves to the site. Current clients have diagnoses of: brain tumor, stroke, cancer, depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Unmounted Activities with Sports Horsemanship - Clients engage in activities that support comprehensive care and handling of equines and equine activities that are necessary and useful regarding safety procedures, horsemanship and care of equine interaction. Lessons address equine behavior, communication, grooming, equipment, leading, health, handling and overall basic horsemanship. Horses are beings with feelings, thoughts, emotions, memories and empathetic abilities and are highly social animals within their herd dynamics and interaction with humans. Social interaction opens areas for communication for self-discovery and develops character skills designed around essential components relating to horsemanship. Relationships between client and horse, client and instructor, and client and volunteer/s are formed to promote care and responsibility while gaining the fundamental knowledge of the equestrian world. Typical clientele include adolescents through seniors who may have contraindications to mounted equine-assisted services (e.g. weight, spinal instability, osteogenesis imperfecta, osteoporosis, indwelling catheters, coxa arthrosis, hemophilia, atlantoaxial instability, etc.). Current diagnoses served include vision impairment, cerebral palsy and depression.
Unmounted Activities with Pony Bird - Ride On St. Louis is enhancing connectedness for both at-risk people with disabilities and their caregivers. The program is proud to partner with Pony Bird, a 24-hour residential facility for people who are non-ambulatory and have medically complex disabilities. Ride On St. Louis's program combats the day’s doldrums, chases away adverse health risks associated with loneliness/isolation, and brings back social life by providing opportunity for communication, self-discovery, and revitalization of the mind and body, and boosts caregiver morale, attitude and connectedness. Current clients include caregivers and people with diagnoses including: aggressive behaviors, cerebrovascular anomaly, chronic hypoxemic respiratory failure, chronic venous insufficiency, cirrhosis, coarctation aorta, convulsions NEC (not elsewhere classified), degenerative joint disease, dementia, disorder of infancy NOS (not otherwise specified), dysphagia, encephalitis, Gitelman syndrome, hearing impairment, hypersensitivity condition, hypothyroidism, incontinence, kyphoscoliosis idiopathic, major depressive disorder, mixed receptive expressive language disorder, neurofibromatosis, neuropathic pain, non-ambulatory, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, other reduction deformities of the brain, paresis of the legs, patent ductus arteriosus, pseudobulbar palsy, renal insufficiency, seizure disorder, scoliosis, spasmodic torticollis, spasticity, spinal meningitis, stroke, static encephalopathy, and vision impairment.
Comment: In 2021 Ride On St. Louis participated in a one-time collaborative program serving high-risk and vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program service utilized virtual technology for distanced services, thus allowing for an increased number of participants. Due to the lifting of quarantine regulations, this program was not renewed for 2022, which reflects the decline in participants served. (During the relocation of our center due to recurrent flooding, the Ride On St. Louis board of directors has strategically reduced services and or programs, in general, to allow staff who have multiple duties and roles in development, fundraising, equine and program delivery, the time required to plan and implement a projected five-year capital campaign project.)
Community Outreach and/or Public Education:
Overview of our programs involved with providing community outreach and/or public education programs involving horses:
Ride On St. Louis has relationships through research efforts, programming, education and outreach program partnerships with the exceptional institutions of Washington University School of Medicine Program in Occupational Therapy, Variety the Children's Charity of St. Louis, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Exercise Science Studies, Research Center for Human Animal Interaction, Mizzou College of Veterinary Medicine, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Teen Outreach Program, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish and School, Maryville University, St. Louis University, the St. Louis County Police Athletic League, Pony Bird residential care facility, and other organized groups. Staff and equine ambassadors present topics of equine-assisted services through visits to schools, businesses, community events and other institutes to educate and inspire passions for horses, equine-assisted services, and helping others.
Ride On St. Louis is a hosting site for a local parish school immersive faith and service activity. Through this collaboration Ride On St. Louis gives students preparing for their confirmation into the Catholic Church, an important opportunity to engage in their communities through education, volunteering and discovery. All youth have strengths and can contribute positively. Their time at Ride On St. Louis engages students emotionally, cognitively and physically and inspires them to seek out projects and causes they are passionate about. Through our participation we foster positive youth development to involve young people within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths’ strengths. This outreach promotes positive outcomes by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and adding to the support needed to build on character and values.
Ride On St. Louis partners with the St. Louis County Police Athletic League (PAL) and members of the police department in youth character-building activities to strengthen police-community relations and deter children from becoming involved in criminal activity. Our equine-assisted activities focus on exercise, enrichment and education in the equine environment with children ages 6-18 in St. Louis County.
Ride On St. Louis offers volunteer opportunities for all ages and abilities, for individuals, groups, scout troops, businesses, etc. Academic students volunteer to fulfill community service projects, undergraduate experiential studies, and graduate practicums. Program volunteers who assist during sessions may receive 21+ hours of free educational training in safety and confidentiality, horsemanship and or disability best practices through Ride On St. Louis’s specific training courses. No-cost training sessions may include Program Volunteer Training, Leader Trainings I-IV, Advanced Leader Training, and Equine Caretaking Basics. Those interested may also observe and assist (if appropriate) during visits from the veterinarian, chiropractor, body worker, dentist, farrier and other equine professionals. Additional opportunities to observe or shadow equine assisted services and or equine specialized care visits may be scheduled.
All offerings and activities are scheduled and documented.Research/Medical Use of Equines:
Our organization has never made, and would not ever consider making, equines available for research studies or medical training that involves invasive procedures and/or that which may cause pain or suffering to the equine. Religious Affiliation:
Our organization does not promote religious education, religious purposes, or a specific religious faith or use donations for religious education or religious purposes; require participants to be of a certain faith; require participation in religious, instruction, activities or services; or require participation in prayer, worship, religious instruction or other religious activities as a condition of receiving social or secular services offered. Auction Donation:
Our organization has never allowed, or would not consider allowing, an equine to be sold, transferred, released, or otherwise placed into possession of any person or organization that would cause or allow the equine to be sold at auction for slaughter.
Our organization acquires horses/equines from the following source(s):
Purchase/Adoption from Owner
Our organization does not acquire horses/equines from the following source(s):
Our organization will accept the following:
Only Stallions to be castrated
POLICIES: INTAKE, ASSESSMENT & TRAININING
Prior to a horse being accepted and/or arriving at the facility, the organization requires the following with respect to the health status of the horse:
A current Coggins
Vaccination records that have been administered within the last 12 months
If health records are not available or are out-of-date, the owner is responsible for having vaccinations administered.
If health records are not available or are out-of-date, our veterinarian will administer appropriate vaccinations
A health certificate signed by a veterinarian and dated no more than seven days prior to arrival attesting to the health status of the equine is provided to our organization either prior to or upon arrival of the equine
Prior to a horse being accepted and/or arriving at the facility, the organization has the following policies in place:
The owner of a potential equine is interviewed over the phone or in person prior to seeing the equine
The equine is evaluated at its place of residence
The owner completes an application/contract which constitutes the agreement between the owner and our organization
Equines are on trial for 60 or more days
The trial period may be reduced based on the equine's progress
During the trial period, the organization accepts total financial responsibility for the care of the equine, including board, feed, shoeing and any necessary veterinary care
During the trial period, the organization accepts financial responsibility for the care of the equine, including board, feed, shoeing and any necessary veterinary care, up to a fixed amount
agreed upon by the organization and the owner
During the trial period, the owner/donor is financially responsible for the care of the equine, including board, feed, shoeing and any necessary veterinary care
The trial period may be terminated by either the organization or the owner for any reason
The owner is financially responsible for the shipping of the equine to and from the organization
Equines are not taken on trial
Equines are on trial for up to 30 days
Equines are on trial up to 60 days
Following arrival of the equine at the facility, the following is performed:
Physical examination by a veterinarian upon arrival and/or prior to quarantine departure
Physical examination by trained barn staff
Photographs are taken of each equine upon arrival at the facility and kept with the equine's health records
A Henneke Body Conditioning Score or other body conditioning score is assigned
Physical examination by a farrier
Physical examination by a dentist
Blood work other than Coggins
The equine is scanned to check for a microchip
The equine is microchipped if the scan indicates that there is no microchip
Upon intake, the organization has the following quarantine policy in place:
The equine is confined to a designated and separate area for isolation and quarantine at the facility
for a prescribed period of time
The equine is confined to a designated and separate area for isolation and quarantine off-site for a prescribed period of time
The equine is not quarantined
The typical length of quarantine is:
10 to 20 days
Horses are assessed for following skills and behaviors:
Retrieval from a pasture/paddock
Leading with a halter and lead rope
Temperament, disposition and attitude, such as rated from very calm to very high spirited
Loading onto and unloading off a trailer
Mounting and dismounting
Riding at the walk
Riding at the trot
Riding at the canter
Riding by a beginner and/or unbalanced rider
Tolerance to unusual objects and loud noises
Known vices, i.e., cribbing, biting, kicking, weaving, stall walking, etc
Tolerance to multiple handlers at the same time
Driving (Pulling a carriage)
Our organization has the following policies and procedures in place pertaining to the ongoing assessment of horses in its care:
The Henneke Body Condition score or other body conditioning score is updated at least annually
Photographs are taken of each equine annually and kept with the equine's health records
Equines at our facility may be treated by an equine chiropractor
Equines at our facility may be treated by an equine acupuncturist
Equines at our facility may be treated by an equine massage therapist
Equines at our facility may be treated by an equine nutritionist
Photographs are taken of each equine monthly and kept with the equine's health records
Physical examination by a veterinarian at least annually
Our organization has the following policies and procedures in place pertaining to the weight-carrying or workload capabilities of horses/equines that are ridden in our care:
Our organization evaluates at least annually and maintains a written record of the weight-carrying and workload limitations for each equine that is ridden
Our organization does not evaluate the weight-carrying and workload limitations for each equine that is ridden
No equines are ridden; not applicable
The following variables are considered in determining the weight-carrying and workload limitations for each equine that is ridden:
Equine age, weight, breed, body condition, fitness, balance, health and soundness
Equine conformation to include the top line, length of back, strength and width of loin, bone density (measured by the circumference of the cannon bone just below the knee)
Size, shape, condition and angle of the hooves
Participant weight, height, body proportions, balance, fitness and riding skills as well as behavioral issues and safety concerns
Weight and proper fit of the saddle and other equipment
Terrain and footing in the working environment
Duration and frequency of working sessions, as the frequency with which an equine is subjected to maximum weight carrying and/or workload
Nature and pace of work, repetitive or varied, radius of turns, degree of incline and regularity of footing when equine is subject to maximum weight-carrying capacity
Temperature and/or weather conditions
Seasonal impact on the equines' workload and weight-carrying capabilities and limitations
Our organization does not evaluate the weight-carrying and workload limitations for each equine that is ridden
No equines are ridden; not applicable
Horses provided formal training (groundwork or riding):
2-3 times per week
Additional information about our intake, assessment & training policies and practices:
Prior to arrival at the facility a PPE, chip scan, and Coggins are performed. Prior to or following arrival, needed vaccinations are delivered in accordance with state and regional requirements and fecal test and or de-worming drugs are administered if recommended by our vet.
Each horse in our care is evaluated for weight-carrying and workload limitations, regardless of the extent of their involvement in our programs. Some equine may or may not be ridden by qualified trainers and exercisers if it is suitable for that equine’s health, conditioning and training needs, but Ride On St. Louis does not currently offer or provide mounted programming for clients.
Sidewalker training includes components that would incorporate a mounted horse, either by volunteers and or staff, with respect to the equine’s carry-weight limit. Each participate in training completes a liability and release waiver. We do not anticipate offering Sidewalker training with mounted components in 2023. Ride On St. Louis currently utilizes portions of our Sidewalker training and Sidewalker training manual to train unmounted safety and best practices for volunteers and staff in roles outside the scope of Sidewalker.
The organization has the following policies related to breeding and stallions:
The facility or facilities where our organization conducts its programs, including foster facilities, does NOT breed equines.
The facility or facilities where our organization conducts its programs, including foster facilities, breeds equines
The facility or facilities where our organization conducts its programs, including foster facilities, are permitted to house stallions
The organization has the following policies related to euthanasia:
Our organization will never have an equine euthanized for space
Our organization will never have a healthy equine euthanized under any circumstances
Our organization may have an equine euthanized upon the recommendation of the veterinarian after all reasonable treatment options have been explored
Euthanasia is done on site when possible to decrease trauma from transport
Euthanasia is done at the veterinarian's facility
Disposal of the carcass is handled within 24 hours
Our organization may have a healthy equine euthanized if it is a threat to itself, other equines, or people and euthanasia is recommended by a veterinarian
The following are authorized to administer the procedure for your organization in accordance with state laws:
A certified euthanasia technician
Senior staff with appropriate training
Employee of animal control shelter or humane society with appropriate training
Veterinary student under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian
Not applicable. Our organization prohibits euthanasia under any circumstances
POLICIES: RE-HOMINGView Re-homing Agreement
Our organization has the following re-homing (adoption/purchase) policies and procedures in place:
All potential adopters/purchasers complete a written contract which constitutes the agreement between our organization and the new owner
Our organization does NOT re-home an equine to first time equine owners
Our organization will only re-home an equine to a location where another equine resides
Potential adopters/purchasers must visit our organization and be observed with the equine on site
The distance of a potential adopter/purchaser's home from our facility is a consideration for when re-homing an equine
Our organization conducts a site visit of the adopter/purchaser's facility before the transfer of the equine to the adopter/purchaser's facility
Potential adopters/purchasers are encouraged to do a short-term, on-site foster with the equine
Adopters/purchasers are NOT required to provide updates
The uploaded Re-homing agreement includes the following re-homing (adoption/purchase) statements:
The agreement reflects that any individual or organization in possession of the equine as of the date of the agreement and any time thereafter is bound to not sell the equine at auction for slaughter or allow the equine to be sold, transferred, released, or otherwise placed into possession of any person or organization that will cause or allow the equine to be sold at auction for slaughter.
The agreement states that should the adopter decide to re-home the equine, our organization must be notified of the name, address, and telephone number of any individual or organization intending to take possession of the equine for any reason prior to the equine being placed into the possession of such individual or organization.
The agreement states that should the adopter decide to re-home the equine, our organization must grant approval of any individual or organization intending to take possession of the equine for any reason prior to the equine being placed into the possession of such individual or organization, including being provided written notification of the name, address, and telephone number of any individual or organization intending to take possession of the equine for any reason.
The agreement states that the terms of our organization's agreement will be binding on any future individual or organization taking and/or in possession of the equine for any reason.
The agreement states that re-homed equines cannot be bred
The agreement states that our organization reserves the right to make scheduled visits
The agreement states that re-homed equines CANNOT be sold, adopted, transferred, auctioned, released, given away, or otherwise placed into the possession of another individual or organization under any circumstances.
The agreement states that if there is any breach of contract the equine must be returned to our organization
The agreement states that our organization reserves the right to make unannounced visits
The agreement states that adopters/purchasers can return an equine to our organization free of charge
The agreement states that adopters/purchasers can return an equine to our organization for a fee
The agreement states that adopters/purchasers are required to provide updates (photos, vet records) for one year
The agreement states that adopters/purchasers are required to provide updates (photos, vet records) for two years
The agreement states that adopters/purchasers are required to provide updates (photos, vet records) for three or more years
None of the statements are included.
The organization does not re-home equines under any circumstances; our organization retains custody of our equines and ensures care of the equines for their lifetimes.
Our organization does not have the authority to transfer ownership and/or does not own any of the equines involved with our programs.
Our organization requires references from the following:
Not applicable or no references required.
Transfer of ownership occurs:
Immediately (at the time of adoption/purchase) or less than one year
The average equine re-homing (adoption/purchase) fee received by your organization:
Not applicable; None received
Our organization has the following policies and procedures related to horses that need to be retired, are no longer useful, or are no longer manageable:
Equines may remain at our organization for their lifetimes
Equines may be found suitable homes by our organization
Equines may be returned to their owners
In the case an equine is unsound and/or unhealthy and cannot be treated to relieve suffering, the equine may be euthanized upon the recommendation of the veterinarian
Equines may be sent to auction
In the case an equine is unmanageable and demonstrates repeated dangerous behaviors, the equine may be euthanized upon the recommendation of the veterinarian
If a suitable home cannot be located within 12 months, the equine may be euthanized
If a suitable home cannot be located, and space is not available for the equine to remain at the organization, the organization will secure a suitable home for the equine and accept financial responsibility for the lifetime of the equine
Additional information about our rehoming policies and practices:
Horses generally remain at our facility and in our care while they are training, in service and retired. If a horse is being leased, he may return to his owner after he has been discharged from the program. Sometimes a horse may be permanently retired to retirement home Out2Pasture in Columbia, MO or enter into Ride On St. Louis's permanent retirement program Always Home. In rare cases, horses that our equine management team feel are no longer suited for equine-assisted services, but may be suited for other careers or activities, are re-homed to appropriate individuals and or organizations with vetted, qualified owners, caretakers, riders and or trainers (if applicable). New owners may sell the horse under circumstances outlined in our contract. Ride On St. Louis retains first right of refusal. The contract states that "the Buyer agrees that under no circumstances will Equine be sold or transferred to any slaughterhouse or person who sells animals to slaughter houses... [but] if Buyer ever chooses to sell, transfer or giveaway the Equine they will give Seller the first right of refusal to re-possess or purchase the Equine... If ownership is transferred, Buyer with notify Seller with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner to which the Equine may be transferred... [and] subsequent owner will complete a copy of the Agreement, and... be bound by the terms".