From a Simple Beginning to Present Day
When Ride On St. Louis was founded back in 1998, the organization was run entirely on a volunteer basis for four years. From Directors and licensed therapists, to bookkeeping and grant writing, to barn hands and maintenance workers. The spirit of volunteerism was vibrant and alive through every aspect of the center.
23 years later, although the organization has expanded quite a bit since 1998, devoted volunteers are still an integral part of our Ride On St. Louis family. From governance to our essential “pooper scoopers,” each role within the organization supports our mission to promote health and enrich lives through love, joy and holistic healing.
With the help of friends, family and volunteers, Ride On St. Louis delivered our inaugural summer session serving eight clients with two horses in 1998. Soon after, Ride On St. Louis amassed an extensive waiting list that demonstrated the extreme need for our quality, holistic health services.
Here's an inspiring story from one of our early clients, Kayla, who has been participating at Ride On St. Louis for 17 years.
Kayla poses with Beau in 2008 (top). And smiles with Diego in 2021 (bottom).
“My name is Kayla and I began riding with Ride On St. Louis in 2004, shortly after I lost my older sister [who was] tragically killed in a car wreck. I came to Ride On St. Louis and met [the founder] Marita, a wonderful riding instructor who uses faith and prayer as a way of healing a broken heart. Beau helped, too. His gentle nature, calmness and love slowly began to heal my wounds. I was just 10 when horses who can heal entered my life. [Many of their horses] helped me heal my wounds from grief. Diego is a really special horse. He recognizes me. When he hears my voice, Diego knows his buddy is here to see him.
My favorite part about being a client at Ride On St. Louis is that before each lesson a prayer is said for anything that might be on your heart. The prayers are what I look forward to each time. Ride On St. Louis, you and the sweet horses have done more than you realize for a horse lover. My heart was broken by grief, but the love from a horse mended the wounds.”