People love to have a relaxing and soothing sensation. They go out in search of a relaxing environment and tend to be close to domesticated animals. Recently therapeutic horse riding program has gained significant attention. If you have horses and know how it feels to be around horses, you can help others get the same experience. But, you need to know the basics before you make a start. It would be best if you had a proper plan, qualified staff members, and some volunteers. And with some dedication, you can also perform well in the fundraising program. Now, let’s discuss these points in detail.
Prior Experience in Therapeutic Riding
The first thing you need is the experience in therapeutic riding to start a program in this field. You can do so by being a volunteer for an already established center. You will gain hands-on experience with this method. No other scheme can teach you about the ins and outs of this field. In this way, you may find some excellent mentors who can guide you in your plans about starting a therapeutic horse riding program.
Selection of Suitable Location
Location is what determines your success. The site of your program should not be too far from the residential area, and it should be easily accessible. Make your therapeutic horse riding program facility according to the needs of physically disabled people. For this purpose, you can include bars, parking areas, and bathrooms easily accessible by disabled people.
The area dedicated to therapeutic horseback riding must have fences around it for safety reasons. Horses can jump through small barriers, so you should consider their size. You can also use the indoor arena as it can be more useful. A covered arena can be used even in extreme weather conditions. Make sure there are no other therapeutic programs near you. You can do so by searching for equine therapy near me. It will help you to avoid competition and maximize benefits from your program.
Legal Issues to Consider
Try to get non-profit status for your therapeutic horse riding program. Having non-profit status will get you more funds from donors, and you will be exempted from extra taxes. Obtaining a non-profit status is a long process, so you need to be patient. First, you should apply to the Internal Revenue Service department and get clearance. Approximately, it takes 3-6 months to get this status. However, in some cases, it can take more time.
Sometimes local authorities also ask you to obtain a license. In that case, you may need to get a business license to start your program.
Insurance Policies For Therapeutic Riding Program
It is essential to have a backup to secure you in case of accidents. Someone may get hurt inside your facility either by horse or in some other way. So, you will have an insurance policy to cover liabilities.
How to Get Donations
You can start fundraising campaigns once you have established yourself in a therapeutic horse riding program. Mostly you will get funds from the community in the form of donations. You can start a social media campaign to get grants for equine therapy programs. Make a website or social media account where you inform people about what you are doing with their funds. It is necessary to acknowledge donors and keep records of their contributions to the program.
If you are not getting funds from the community, then you can apply for grants. You can also try to get sponsorship from a local business person. It would be best if you even tried to sell custom made items with your slogans and logo.
Remember that the goods and services that you get in donations are equally important. Animal feed making companies may sell your products at discounted prices or may give food in the gift. Likewise, professional photographers may agree to provide free photos of horses for your social media accounts, websites, or brochures. People often search for therapeutic riding programs near me. So, you can be active on social media to attract such people to your program.
Moreover, it would be best if you educated people about therapeutic riding benefits. It will attract more people and increase the flow of people into your facility. The increased flow of people will ensure more donations and funds for your program. It would be best if you were proactive and smart to get people’s attention. It all depends on your dedication and efforts you put into your program.
Program Requirements for Therapeutic Riding
You need to know about equine therapy requirements before starting the program. First of all, you need to have a certain level of experience and some certifications to start the program. The most recognized certification in this field is the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) certification. This certification is valid in many countries. Most of the horse riding program instructors hold this certification.
Other equine therapy certifications are issued from Certified Horsemanship Association (Instructor of Riders with Disabilities), Pennsylvania Council for Therapeutic Horsemanship (Instructor), Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (Instructor), British Horse Society (Riding for the Disabled Senior Instructor), and Riding for the Disabled (Instructor).
Role and Recruitment of Volunteers
Volunteers are the main component of the equestrian therapy program, and they should be well prepared. The instructor should train them to work and assist with a diverse group of people. They should know how to help disabled people. They can perform their duties as horse leaders, arena set up teams, and side walkers.
Volunteers are not supposed to have initial experience. They can join the program and learn the basics with time. However, if they have some knowledge about horse riding, then they may prove beneficial. Volunteer recruitment is also an essential aspect of a therapeutic program. You can recruit them by posting on social media, handing out flyers, and from local riding stables.
You can begin by gaining some experience from an established center by working as a volunteer. Later, you can get certifications from approved institutions and departments. The certificates will also help you with legal matters. You can start building a facility for your program after obtaining clearance from local and state authorities. Attract people by being active in horse-related events and increase your social media presence. By doing this you will get more funds and donations. Be consistent with your efforts and do not lose interest. It will take some time, but one day you will surely become successful.