In April of this year, you may have seen an email or post from us about daily voting to help us win a therapy horse from LexLin Gypsy Ranch. We were so excited to compete in this competition this year, since we had to bow out in 2017 due to the devastating flooding of our center. In mid April, before the contest began, Ride On St. Louis received surprising news from LexLin that along with 30 other Premier and/or Accredited PATH centers, we had been chosen to receive one these valuable horses for our program! Our new member, Ghost, will be entering our training and acclimation program to help him develop into a reliable, safe and happy working therapy horse who will be able to nurture the minds and bodies of many people in need.
"Great horses in this career are rare, as the physical and mental demands can be challenging for the average horse" says Program Director and Founder Marita Wassman. "Unlike therapy equipment that you can purchase, use immediately and then store in a closet, our equine partners in therapy are sentient beings with their own thoughts, emotions, desires and needs. They require a strong foundation of training before they can safely participate in their delicate roles as therapy horses." Ride On St. Louis is slowly phasing horses out of the program who are preparing to retire. Ghost will train to step into their (horse) shoes one day. "To achieve the same same responses, behaviors and outcomes produced by our veteran horses, Ghost will need years of experience and knowledgeable training. With this investment, he may be able to serve our clients for 20+ years." Slow, correct and controlled training helps our horses flourish and develop trust, a relationship with their trainers and the best foundation for healthy happy careers.
"We are so grateful to LexLin Gypsy Ranch and their staff for the gift of Ghost. He possesses so many great qualities that we look for in our therapy horses," says Wassman. "For anyone who is able to help us financially care for Ghost we have a great adoption program. Raising, training and caring for a therapy horse requires a lot of resources. Adopting a horse is a fun way to support or mission and truly is a gift that keeps giving!"
For more information on adopting Ghost or other Ride On St. Louis therapy horses, please visit www.rideonstl.org/adopt