Questions You Should Ask a Therapeutic Riding Facility.

    • Does every rider wear approved, protective headgear?
      • Yes. Southcentral Therapeutic Riding, Inc. has American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approved helmets, so each rider has properly fitted head protection. A variety of boots are also available for loan each session.

    • Are the horses quiet, sensible and a match for their rider?
      • The horses have vast experience in their work as therapy partners. They come from varied backgrounds and are patient participants. A variety of factors assist us in pairing horses and riders.

    • Are the instructors certified as therapeutic riding instructors and by what agency?
      • Instructors with STRIDE are certified by either Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship or Certified Horsemanship Association. Both organizations require ongoing education and renewal of certifications every 3 years

    • Are the activities safe and do they provide challenging goals in a setting that is positive and encouraging?
      • Activities are held in contained areas with each rider utilizing a horse leader and side walkers who help maintain safety, promote positive interactions, and improve horsemanship skills. Activities are fun, positive and encourage independent riding.

    • Is the environment safe and free of hazards, with a closed arena and safe fencing and footing?
      • Both the indoor and outdoor arenas are kept hazard free. Any “props” used during a session are reintroduced to the horses prior to the session.

    • Are the volunteers well trained and enthusiastic? How does one qualify to become a volunteer?
      • STRIDE provides a hands-on volunteer training each spring. Volunteers receive information specific to therapeutic riding settings including appropriate attire, program philosophy, confidentiality, and the roles horse leaders, side walkers and spotters. Volunteers spend time learning to catch, groom, tack, and lead, as well as learn alternative mounts and dismounts. You may find the date and time of our next volunteer training session on our News and Events page.

    • Is an adult trained in first aid and CPR on the site?
      • There is at least one adult trained in Adult/Child First Aid and CPR on the premises for all sessions.

    • Is the tack used in good condition and suitable for the rider’s needs?
      • The equipment used for riders and horses is kept in safe, clean condition. All tack used is specifically chosen for the rider’s needs.

    • Are there well defined emergency procedures? This includes a telephone or cell phone readily available.
      • Emergency protocols are covered in the volunteer training. Signs for First Aid items, and 911 call information are posted in the barn. A tour is included in the training so that access is known. A cell phone is always available; a land line is nearby.

    • What other professionals help with the program? Is there a therapist present or available for evaluations and consultations?
      • STRIDE has been fortunate to partner with many therapists on behalf for individual riders. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate to maximize a rider’s interactions with the horses. Evaluations or consultations may easily be arranged.

Frequently asked questions about the program. (FAQ)

    • How long has the program been in existence?
      • Southcentral Therapeutic Riding, Inc. originated in Peters Creek, Alaska in 1995, serving individuals with special needs for 16 years. To expand services and better meet the needs of participants, STRIDE moved to The Ridge Riding Facility located in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in spring 2012.

    • How is the program governed? If it is run by a Board of Directors, what is their involvement in the program and what are their contributions? Is it run by a school, university, community service organization or camp?
      • A registered 501c3, STRIDE is guided by a volunteer, diverse and active board of directors. Contributions range from commitments to volunteer with riding sessions, to selling raffle tickets, setting up for an event and promoting this unique approach to enhancing community health and wellness.

    • Does the program have insurance? What type and who is covered?
      • Southcentral Therapeutic Riding, Inc. and The Ridge, LLC and representatives are covered by policies in line with best practice requirements in the field of equine assisted activities and therapies.

    • How are volunteers recruited and how are they trained?
      • Each spring STRIDE provides a hands-on 3-hour volunteer training at The Ridge, LLC. Topics include program philosophy, confidentiality, appropriate ways to assist a rider, safety as well as grooming, tacking, leading and mount/dismount strategies with the horses. Volunteers are then paired with horse and rider to make up consistent team, promoting optimum fun and skill building.

    • How are the horses chosen and what special training do they receive?
      • The therapy horses that work with Southcentral Therapeutic Riding, Inc. are generally older horses with lots of time and experience under saddle. Some are retired show horses, some shine on the trail and others have been involved with 4-H families. All equine participants are thoroughly vetted, patient, willing and exceptionally good at communicating their needs to their people.

    • Does the program have written policies and procedures regarding all operational aspects?
      •  A set of Bylaws guide the overall functioning of the program. Sessions are conducted in a consistent manner with an established routine adhered to. Routines are established and followed with regard to the flow of each visit to the stable. Safety of all participants drives development of these routines.

        Safety signs are also posted throughout the stable. All potential participants are invited to visit the premises, meet the horses, and determine if the setting will meet their needs prior to signing up.

Remember, it is the people involved in the program that determines its’ quality and safety. Take the opportunity meet the staff, observe classes and even volunteer your time. By following the above guidelines, you will be able to effectively choose a safe and beneficial therapeutic riding program.