What happens when a horse retires from his career? Options are very limited. Some horses are passed along to another, some may find themselves awaiting slaughter at a kill pen, or some horses are simply turned out to pasture.
At Ride On St. Louis our equine partners are the reason hundreds of people have found happiness, health, and healing in life. Without them, our outcomes would not be possible. Through our partnership with the horse, and witness of their selfless service and life-changing benefits, we realize just how precious the human-horse relationship is. We realize our responsibility and privilege to provide our equines with love, respect, and care through all life and career stages.
This year, we set out to establish our Always Home equine retirement program to provide security for the retiring horses in our programs and the people who love them. This program will transition retirees of equine-assisted activities and therapies seamlessly by allowing them to remain on location and in Ride On St. Louis’s care for the remainder of their life.
The Always Home program is excited to welcome officially our first two retirees Amiga and Style.
Amiga and Style shared 1,735 hours of mounted service to 233 people; 2,284 hours of unmounted service to 103 people; and provided countless education hours to hundreds more in the community who were interested in learning about horses and practicing new equine skills and horsemanship.
Because of their service, both children and adults have taken first steps, spoke first words, and discovered a freedom and sense of independence otherwise lacking. “I cannot express enough how amazing Ride On St. Louis has been for Noah,” says his mother Cassie. Noah, who has cerebellar atrophy (an extremely rare and fatal progressive disease affecting the brain), worked with Amiga, the chestnut pony in the photos. “Noah was constantly sick, had no motivation to walk or talk and was easily frustrated. After one [11 week] session he started walking with a gait-trainer and occasionally speaks short sentences. Hippotherapy at Ride On St. Louis has been the most effective therapy for Noah; It has truly changed his life. Even though his diagnosis is terminal... riding gives him joy and us hope.”
To provide the best results for our clients and horses we operate at high standards while remaining fiscally efficient through our professional relationships, collaborations, community support, and active fund-raising. Our Always Home program partners with equine professionals in the field of training, veterinary, farrier, dental, chiropractic, and body work to provide comprehensive care of mind and body for Amiga and Style (and future retirees) in their senior years. Combined knowledge and precise balance between natural living conditions and controlled environments provide the highest quality atmosphere for the physical and mental well-being of our beloved retirees as they live out their days, always at home. At Ride On St. Louis we vow that our horses, who have given so much to humans in need, will be loved and cared for beyond their specialized careers as equine-assisted service horses. We will not retire these champions to a field to fend for themselves or combat pests and Mother Nature; we will not pass them on to another owner or career; we will not leave their care up to another facility, especially in their senior years as they develop health issues (just as many people do) that need daily attention.
Ride On St. Louis supports and protects our equines with a highly informed perspective and a knowledgeable team of experts that always puts the welfare of equines above convenience or commercial interests, while remaining fiscally judicious. We are excited to welcome two deserving horses Amiga and Style into the Always Home retirement program!