25 years of service!
Memories, moments and friends along the way...
In 25 years, 2,500+ kids and people with special needs experienced love, strength and joy with the help of thousands of volunteers. We wish we could capture and share photos of everyone, but hope that you enjoy this small look back over the years.
1998 thru 2001
Rick and Marita Wassman found Ride On St. Louis at their three acre south St. Louis County home and barn in Oakville. This photo comes from the 2000 summer edition of Maryville Univeristy when the Wassman's were honored with the Community Service Volunteer award presented by Lou Brock.
First Programs Launch
In 1998, Ride On St. Louis held their first program. A six-week summer "camp" serving eight children with disabilities.
For four years, Ride On St. Louis operated entirely on a volunteer basis. Pictured are instructors Marsha Narzinski and Marita Wassman, Jane O'Connell OT/A with service horse Sally.
First TV Apperance
Volunteer staff, board members, helpers and family appear on the morning news in downtown St. Louis. Pictured: Denise Cox, Marita Wassman (cofounder) with children Daniel and Annise Wassman, Derrick and Jenna Vernier with their mother Janice Vernier (board member), Yella (horse), BriAnn Wassman, and Laurel Vernier.
All About the Senses
Instructor Marsha and client explore the parts of a leather saddle.
Nancy O'hanlon, Kathy Wallace, Barbie (horse), mounted volunteer, two trainees and BriAnn Wassman pose during a training day.
Two Thumbs Up
Programs are blooming in 1999! Stacey Parker, client, Sally (horse), and instructor Marsha Narzinski give us the update mid-session.
A busy summer camp day with several teams of volunteers and instructors grooming and tacking their horses before the riding portion of their lesson begins.
Before the construction of the Wassman's outdoor arena, sessions were conducted on a dirt surface. Reinforced fencing, grading and arena footing follow later in the year. Catie (Mudd) Parker, client, and Nugget (horse).
Safety and Training
An early volunteer training on safety and sidewalking! Volunteers and staff include BriAnn Wassman, volunteer, Lucy (horse), Mary Kier, Annie Bastida, Annise Wassman (mounted), volunteer, and Mary Ann and Larry Cuppy.
Making a Difference
In 2001, we met Alex and his mother Timberly. Alex joined the program and Timberly became instrumental in introducing Ride On St. Louis to the City of Kimmswick and Anheuser Estate.
Programs continue to flourish and Ride On St. Louis picks up steam!
2002 thru 2005
Welcome to the Anheuser Estate
By January 2002, Ride On St. Louis relocated to Kimmswick at the invitation of then Mayor Brian Selsor and the Anheuser Estate.
Some of our growing staff and volunteers including (back row) Carol Leach, volunteer, volunteer, Dori, Pat Unterreiner and Rick Bowling. Front row, Marita Wassman, Jane O'Connell OT/A, and Anne Cochran PT.
St. Louis Ram's NFL cheering leader Pamela Hubbs Jensen (center) poses with Beau (horse), Pat Unterriener, Dori, Lucy (horse), and Andrew and Ellie.
Joining PATH Intl.
Service is booming and in 2002 Ride On St. Louis becomes a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl. (formerly NARHA).
Marita Wassman is seen tandem riding with client as OT/A Jane O'Connell facilitates treatment. Tandem riding is an early treatment strategy no-longer recommended or practiced.
Ride On St. Louis has and still is a family operated non-profit. Pictured are the founders' youngest Annise helping prepare Charity for an upcoming session.
As programs expand, staff and core volunteer needs follow. Back row, Laura Jones, Dori, Pat Unterriener, Amy Kressig, Susan Hoffman, and front row Anne Cochran PT, Jane O'Connell OT/A, and Marita Wassman CRI.
2004 Dinner Auction
Ride On St. Louis supporters Carol and Dan Leach attend the 6th Dinner and Auction.
Advanced Sports Horsemanship participant Natalie rides independently in her lesson with horse Charity.
2005 Board Members
Our board members provide support in governance and direction. Volunteer, Dan Leach, Nancy O'Hanlon, John Cochran, Tracy Mahler, volunteer, Marita Wassman, and Vince Lindwedel.
Love, Strength and Joy
We serve clients from all ages, abilities, and needs. Pictured is a client heading out for her equine-assisted physical therapy session.
Client sits with support in quadraped (on hands and knees) for an added challenge during his treatment session.
2006 thru 2010
Thanksgiving and Joy
Staff enjoys time together at one of our Kimmswick favorites, the Blue Owl. Mary Kier, Pat Unterriener, Marita Wassman, Susan Hoffman, Anne Cochran, Susan Chamberlain, Candy Redel and Terri Timmerman.
Cofounder Rick Wassman awards Jacob a ribbon during his participation in a demonstration, held during our Music Fest fundraiser.
Improvements and Construction
With grant funding, water pipes are laid by the Sprinkler Fitters and Pipefitters Union to install automatic stall waterers to make daily chores more efficient.
Alaina, Billy and Terri Timmerman
From 2007 to 2008, program hours were nearly doubled and the organization continues to expand in service, horses, staff and opportunities.
A few members of our 2008 staff pose for a photo. Back row Marita Wassman, Mary Kier, Rick Wassman, Pat Unterriener, front row Anne Cochran, Amy Kressig, and Susan Hoffman.
Dinner Auction Guests
As services expand, so do expenses! Thanks to our generous supporters for their interest in our mission to serve.
Facility improvements come in all aspects, like new, low-dust footing.
KMOX Voice of Caring
In 2009 Ride On St. Louis is honored as KMOX's Voice of Caring nonprofit! Our team was excited to be featured in the downtown parade with our handmade float.
Working at the Car Wash
Our friends have spearheaded so many fun fundraisers over the years like this 2009 car wash!
2008 Patch, Laura, Eve and Candy
Patch enjoys a treat from the tray after Eve finishes her occupational therapy session with Candy Redel. Laura Dunn assists.
Our first research involvement began with pilot programs in 2004. In 2009 it expanded with Dr. Tim Shurtleff's studies at Washington University.
Horses = Happiness
What a happy moment with Marita Wassman CRI, Jeff Gamble, Clayton riding Otto, and sidewalker Marie McIntosh.
Sidewaking with Jacob are Sue Stinehardt and Mary Bucher, while LaDonna Huckabee leads Patch.
A talented group of volunteers made up of college days, friends, and athletic teammates construct the stage for the 2010 Music Fest! Back to front, Woody Whetsel, Greg Ringcamp, Steve Pratt Jeff Lenzen, Chuck Whitehead, Kevin Smith, Tom Wisniewski, Justin Slade, Scotty Ringcamp, Doug Ringcamp, Mike Hartman, Rick Wassman, Tom Brickey, Jim Baygents, Bob Beckman, Pat Gerard, Randy Lenzen, and Kevin Hicks.
Come One Come All
Guests to our 2010 Music Fest gather in the "run" to watch a live demonstration of riders, clients and horses.
Just a small capture of the Music Fest, which attracted 3,000 event goers who enjoyed music, games, ride-a-therapy horse, Kimmswick merchant vendors, BBQ, ice cream, beer, wine and more!
Jacob and his physical therapist Amanda smile before leaving the paddock on Johnny. Volunteer Sue Stinehardt to the right.
Trivia at the Barn
Another event favorite, the Nag's Head Trivia Night, originally was held in our indoor arena!
Taylor peeks out from behind the therapy bloster as she lays prone over her horse Patch. Therapists Amanda and Anne help her find strength and Marita Wassman controls the movements of Patch.
With an outdoor arena, indoor arena, walking path and grassy hills, there's plenty of room for multiple session and activities. Terri Timmerman PT, heads our with Aimee on Shamrock, led by Jamie Adams. Ron Herrel sidewalks on Aimee's right.
2011 thru 2014
Ride On St. Louis offers nearly 30,000 hours of volunteer opportunities. In 2011, over 20,000 hours were volunteered by loving people just like Andrea Herrell, who is pictured with Shamrock.
The Perfect Pair
We just can't say enough about our wonderful volunteers! Donna Vonderhaar and Patch, an experienced team, help riders and clients feel secure in and out of the saddle.
In 2011 our friends from Lowe's donated materials and service to build out a storage/loft area in the indoor area, complete with a staircase (not yet constructed).
Our staff and volunteers bring a lot to the table to help people improve their quality of life. Physical therapist Amanda Braun (right) has Hannah working on her core strength with assistance from her sidewalker Charlotte Landrum (left) and Diego's leader Marie McIntosh.
Operating at Capacity
During these years Ride On St. Louis employed a staff of 11, including several therapists and instructors. Instructor Stan Weiss works with a client riding horse Loverboy, who is lead by volunteer Tim Cox.
Our horses as ambassadors for their profession, travel with staff and clients for a special off-site demonstration to raise awareness and funds for programs.
Our services operate year round, but most heavily from March through November. Josh leads Remington for Kellen, who is assisted by Laurie and Ashleigh Baan.
2013 Major Flooding
After the evacuation of our horses and equipment from the estate grounds, volunteers and staff return to clean. Here, Ron Peterson, volunteer, Ken Schatz, and Maureen Coughlin remove a stall mat to power wash and disinfect.
Some Members of the 2013 Staff
Patrick Richard, Josh Ketchum, Marita Wassman, Danielle Eckert, BriAnn Wassman, Anne Cochran, Sue Stinehardt, and Don Dresner in the front row.
Wherever You Go, I Go Too
Bourbon the horse thinks nothing of walking into the busy tack room with Marita Wassman. Our horses are the best!
Trivia Moves to CBC
After seven successful years of hosting Nag's Head Trivia at the barn, we needed room for more guests! 2014 was the first year trivia was hosted at CBC High School.
Making the Grade
Our program volunteers complete hands-on and written tests for competency in order to work safely with our equine-assisted service team. Several volunteers work on their written test during a training.
I Can Count on You
Our horses like Lucy pictured here are worth their weight in gold. Chosen for their temperament, movement, and aptitude, all horses participate in continual conditioning and training for safety and to enhance benefits. Danielle Eckert M.S., OTR/L, HPCS, works with Cora to improve her riding position.
Have Horses, Will Travel
Laurie and Ashleigh Baan, BriAnn Wassman, Don Dresner, Patrick Richard, Nancy Riggs, Danielle Eckert and Josh Ketchum pose with horses Fred and Cruz at the Autos on Valhalla car show and fundraiser.
DASA Camp Collaboration
Once again the herd is on the move to bring love, joy and healing to everyone they meet. Staff and volunteers are at Babler state park to serve children with disabilities at Camp WeCanDu.
A Major Upgrade
Grant funding from the Cardinals Care foundation helped us install world class arena footing. Dust-free and lifetime guaranteed to protect fragile respiratory systems and ease joint and tissue strain. A sub layer of sand is being leveled.
2015 thru 2018
Major Flooding 2015
Busted pipes, cracked fixtures, corroded outlets, mold, warped doors and framing... and that's just in the office. Thankfully our supporters, like Laurie Baan, helped up get things back in working order again. Programs were delayed for almost eight months following the devastation.
Later That Summer...
We were doing what we love again! With Amanda Arnold, Cruz (horse), Ava, leader Nancy McClean, and Anne Cochran PT.
Enjoying Time Together
Ride On St. Louis strives to spread love, strength and joy to everyone we meet, including our horses and helpers like Amiga and Laura Reitz.
Despite the major flooding in 2013 and 2015, Ride On St. Louis had grown to serve 50 clients weekly with over 1,500 program hours annually. In the foreground instructor Nancy Salvo works with Rose on Lucy. Simultaneously, a therapy team in session passes in the background.
In 2015 we were so thankful to be able to expand services and begin an unmounted program with adults from Pony Bird residential home.
1000s of Program Hours
During these years, Ride On St. Louis was maintaining over 1,200 of program hours delivered each year! Carissa rides Cruz with assistance from BriAnn Session and Rowan Sandboothe. Rose rides April with assistance from Josh Ketchum and Brian Foster.
Internship and Vocational Training
We've been happy to be able to help some our clients with internships and work as they prepare to enter the workforce. Katelyn, posing with Butter (horse) and BriAnn Session, helped with tasks in and out of the office.
Morning, Noon and Night
Clients like Tim visit all hours of the day. Kate Bedow, Tim on Diego (horse), Kat Watson OT, and Marita Wassman.
We welcome people for a Night of Discovery including a tour and introduction to Ride On St. Louis. Tour attendees in the background, Kaylee and her father interact with Butter, handled by BriAnn Session.
2017 Major Flooding
As water rose to records levels in May 2017, we once again packed up our belongings and evacuated our herd of 9 horses for several months.
Jan Bresnan held her 6th "Jan's Party" fundraiser in February 2018 with music, auction items, raffles and dinner!
It Takes a Team
Several caretakers commit to training and learning to be able to help us take care of our precious service horses. Pictured are April and Kimberly Kruse.
We have so much fun at our Sensational Summer Camp serving kids with disabilities and their siblings and friends!
Celebrating the Moment
Life is made up of moments, and we strive to make ours our best. Enjoying this one with Stephanie, Olivia Apollo and Diego.
Volunteer Kami Kimes, Katie and horse Pharmalouma after a session.
When the weather is chilly, windy or too warm, we are thankful for the indoor arena! Marita Wassman, Debbie Harre PT, and BriAnn Session work with Brandon and Cruz.
The whole crew for the day during a fun collaboration with DASA, serving kids with physical disabilities.
Help from our Friends
Groups like these help us tackle bigger projects throughout the year. Students from SLU pose with core volunteer Ron Peterson.
We pack up and prepare to exit the Anheuser Estate, to prevent loss from future floods. Background volunteer, Marita Wassman, front row, friend, Annie Eversman, Eve and Patricia Modica.
Goodbye to the Estate
All of our assets were removed and are in storage while we work towards securing our Forever Home.
2019 thru 2022
Welcome to Eastland Farms
Our wonderful friends are Eastland Farms opened their barn doors to us and all nine of our horses throughout 2019! Diego and Joseph Lehn; Marita Wassman, April and Maria Crenshaw; Style and Katie Lutchefeld.
Thanks to Eastland Farms, we were able to hold limited, unmounted programs throughout the year. Marita Wassman, Katelyn, Diego (horse) and Laurie Baan.
Barn Buddies Launches
In 2017, we began a small pilot program serving adults with health challenges. In 2019 our Barn Buddies vocational program took off! Barn Buddy Deana poses with Amiga.
PATH Regional Conference
Members from PATH and Ride On St. Louis connect at the 2019 Region 7 Conference. Kathy Alm, Marita Wassman, Jeanne Johnson, BriAnn Session and Ross Braun.
Nag's Head Trivia
The best trivia in St. Louis entertains guests and raises funding in May 2019.
We were happy to be back at DASA Camp for this off-site event serving kids with disabilities. We served over 80 clients participating in DASA's Camp WeCanDu in 2019.
On the Move
In early 2020, we thanked our hosts and Eastland Farms and began renting a temporary site in Cedar Hill. Marita Wassman and BriAnn Session hook up the trailer.
To Cedar Hill
In 2020 we were able to welcome larger groups back, like this youth group from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.
Marita Wassman speaks at the Marquette Youth Forum and shares her knowledge and passion for equine-assisted services.
First Distanced Services
Nearing late Summer of 2020, with the cautions of the pandemic, we launched the first of our Distanced Services with Pony Bird.
What a year! Ride On St. Louis delivered 1,200 service hours! Katie Luchtefeld, Deana Jungbluth, Marita Wassman and Teresa Bast pose with Diego.
This past year our programs continued and expanded with a new partnership with the St. Louis County Police Athletic League youth program. Marita Wassman, Style (horse), McKayla, Haley, Officer Ashley Meyer, Diego (horse), Elijah and Jackson.
In December of 2021, guests attended an exclusive luncheon at Grant's Farm to learn about our Forever Home needs.
Pony Bird In-person!
While the success of our distanced services were celebrate, we were even more joyful to be able to welcome all our friends from Pony Bird back for in-person activities.
Our distanced services continued for those most vulnerable and expanded through Variety's Teen and Adventure Camp. Our Variety participants received special themed packages compelte with all the materials needs to fully enjoy our virtual activities!
Forever Home Gala
This June event featured Lt. Gen. Jerry "G." Boykin and kicked off our Forever Home campaign.