The first week of classes at Therapeion was last week and was it great to be back – despite the August-like temperatures! We want to assure everyone that we are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and have enacted strict guidelines to ensure the safety of our riders, volunteers, families and staff, including:
All of our volunteers wear long-sleeved shirts and masks at all times during class.
We disinfect all tack (reins, saddles, pads, lead ropes) between classes
We have limited the class sizes to three people so that we have extra space between horses and people on the grooming wall.
We do not allow anyone in barn without a mask.
We allow only one caretaker or parent come with each rider to limit the number of people in the barn.
We ask that riders do not come into the barn until five minutes before class.
We have spaced benches down the arena so that only one person is on a bench to watch class.
Despite the changes we’ve had to make because of COVID-19, classes are running smoothly and we are happy to be "back in the saddle" and working with our clients and families once again. Kim and Libby are teaching a modified "dressage" unit this summer for the riders. And we have restarted our ground training/horse handling classes (riders and parents work together to learn techniques in grooming, leading, and playing Parelli games with our miniature horses Willy and Janice.)
However, re-opening Therapeion does not mean we aren’t still facing challenges. Many of our volunteers are uncomfortable volunteering because of the virus, or have medical conditions that make it impossible for them to help. No one blames them; but it does
make staffing a little difficult. And we are not out of the woods in terms of finances. We are still working to raise funds to cover the loss of income from having to cancel Spring 2020 session. Thank you to everyone who has contributed our GoFundMe “The Ponies vs The Pandemic” fundraising campaign! The campaign is still running so you still have time to donate if you are interested -- and please share the link with your social networks!
Despite the extraordinary circumstances we’ve faced this year, the Therapeion instructors, volunteers, and board remain dedicated to providing therapeutic riding services to individuals in our community facing emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical challenges. It is our goal to do so with the utmost safety, professionalism, and full-heartedness for as long as we can.
Chin Up and Heels Down!
Pattie Spafford, Ph. D.
TTRC Volunteer Coordinator