COVID-19 Resources for Adaptive and Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Hi all, I bet your lives look a lot different right now due to COVID-19. By now many programs have temporarily shut down due to stay-at-home policies and instructors may be working from home or unable to work or doing barn work. In light of that, I want to share some resources for you and your programs that I’ve seen on the internet the past few days regarding COVID-19 and adaptive or therapeutic horseback riding. This is not comprehensive, and if you’re on Facebook you have probably seen most of these already, but in case you haven’t, I hope these are helpful!

U.S. Small Business Administration Loan Info

PATH Intl. Reopening Suggestions PDF

Suggestions and resources for reopening. Check this out!

Webinar: “Having Difficult Conversations While Operating During the Pandemic”

PATH Intl. hosts a panel discussion for tips on how to navigate various types of difficult conversations you may need to have when bringing people back–or turning them away–for on-site activities.

Accompanying resource: Slide presentation

Webinar:   “Planning for the New Normal While Navigating the Current Situation”

Kathy Alm discusses “economic recovery, reopening considerations and planning for the future. Additionally she shares helpful ideas pertaining to the impact of the pandemic on staff and financial stability.”

Accompanying Resources:

Webinar: “Engaging Center Volunteers as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease”

Free. “Explore ideas to help plan for the return of center volunteers, engage and retain those who won’t be returning immediately and prepare for social distancing, sanitation and other concept new to your essential crew.”

Webinar: Resuming Services Strategically and Safely: Approaching the future with mindful intention”

This is a free live webinar requires registration here. A panel of representatives of the industry will give suggestions and answer questions about resuming programming when you are able to. (1.5 CE CEUs with PATH Intl.)

Accompanying resources

Webinar: “COVID-19 Impact: Navigating the Present and Planning for the Future for your Center and Participants.”

Free webinar by PATH Intl, presented by Dana Butler-Moburg, Executive Director of The Shea Center. (1.5 CEUs for PATH Intl.)

Accompanying resources:

Webinar: Budgeting Scenarios post COVID-19

A free 30 minute recorded webinar by Bryan McQueeney, co-founder and CEO of Ride On LA, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Los Angeles, about step-by-step methods to assess the impact of the coronavirus on the financial life of your center and tools to move forward in a post-COVID-19 economy. (.5 CE CEUS for PATH Intl.)

Webinar: How to Successfully Deliver Virtual Services

Free webinar by PATH Intl (1.5 CR CEUs for PATH Intl.) covering Tele-health for PTs, OTs and SLPs Who Incorporate Horses Into Their Treatment Strategies, Virtual Lessons, Programming and Online Learning, Conducting Virtual Programming for Veterans.

Accompanying resources:

Webinar: Horse BioSecurity and Facility Sanitation during COVID-19

Put on by Extension Horses, led by Joe Lyman, DVM, on April 15 at 1 central.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Relief Center

A list of resources for states put together by Paul Weiss, a firm of 1000+ lawyers who provide innovative and effective solutions to client challenges.

PATH Intl. Response Recommendations for COVID-19

Some good initial considerations for how your barn is responding to the virus.

Benefits from the Experiences of a PATH Intl. Center Emerging from the Virus in China

This free webinar is presented by “Amy Tripson, a PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Instructor and program director for PATH Intl. Member Center Hope Beijing in China, …for PATH Intl. Members. [She] shares how the center responded to the crisis that for them started in January. The recorded presentation is a treasure trove of tactics and inspiration from colleagues who’ve successfully maneuvered their way through the pandemic.”

Starting Back…Post COVID

Hoof Falls and Footfalls’ excellent post with considerations and resources for starting back up programming post COVID-19, because it will look different than starting back up from a break or as a new program. She has an excellent list of resources there, too.

The American Horse Council’s COVID-19 Resource Center

Resources for human health, horse health and business health. “The Center contain articles, news, and we hope eventually YouTube videos and other content to help horse owners, equine non-profits, equine businesses and equine industry employees.”

Fieldstone Farms’ activities and worksheets for their riders

This is an example of something you can be doing for your own riders while they stay at home, to continue their learning and keep them engaged.

The Virtual Education Co-Op

This is “a group of dedicated instructors and center administrators working towards the same goal: providing virtual equine education and activities to our participants.  As a Co-Op, we have joined our efforts to build this online learning platform to distribute to all centers that are contributing members of the Co-Op.” They just came out with their first version of a learning management system that can be used to link participants with online activities while they are not able to be at their centers. Also check out their Facebook group.

EAAT Virtual CEU Series

From the description: “Free, online CEUs geared toward individuals involved in the Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies industry. Initiated to provide connection and professional development opportunities during this time of challenge. Free virtual continuing education- what topic can you share with others in our industry? **Equine professionals and trainers- riding skills and discipline specific presentations are also of interest to our audience!** Please let me know if you are interested/able to contribute as a presenter. This may be a new audience! Recycle a presentation you already have (we can do screen sharing so show PowerPoint slides). Events will be posted to this page for easy access to join the presentations. For both interested attendees and interested presenters please also share your availability and i’ll work to assess the most popular time options. Thanks for your consideration!” Marci Bender from the National Abilities Center in Utah is putting this together.

Plot for the Plop

Check out this good fundraising idea that can be done from donors’ computers with a live webcam! I grew up knowing this as “Cow Patty Bingo”, where you mark off an arena or huge field in a grid, people bid on the spots, then someone walks a cow (in this case, horse) back and forth across all the spots until it poops, and whoever’s square the poop falls on gets 50% (I think?) and the host program gets 50% of the proceeds.

PATH Intl. Virtual Conference May 7-8, 2020

Looking for continued education while you’re stuck, I mean safe, at home? Check out the PATH Intl. Virtual Conference coming up, they’ve lowered prices in response to COVID-19 and Regional Conference Cancellations. Registration opens soon!

Also check out PATH Intl’s shop for more webinars that are on discount during April and May!

Hoof Falls & Footfalls’ podcast on Anchor

Want to learn while listening and you’re at home or at the barn? Listen to Saebra Pipoly’s podcast with 10 episodes so far!

Also check out her Intuitive Instructor Club which is offering free trial membership through April 30th, 2020, in response to COVID-19.

Pole Triangle & Pole Star

Want some fun new exercises for your program horses if you are riding them more during this time? Check out these pole exercises, they will give your lesson horses something new to do while providing some benefits!

How to Strengthen Topline & What The Topline Says About The Horse & Rider

Here are two articles to read about topline, the first offers some good reminders about how to build it up while your horses have this break, and the second is an interesting one about how to read you’re horses’s body and what it tells you about how he uses himself – what can you learn about your lesson horses using this?

Ideas to Maintain Engagement

Here are some ideas about maintaining engagement with participants, families, and volunteers during center closures, from a Facebook Page.

  • Daily Therapy Horse posted on Facebook, encouraging people to post their own photos and stories of the horse
  • Short educational videos
  • Create podcasts
  • Hold online contests
  • Facebook live feeds of center horses or their day or running in pasture
  • Write thank you notes to stakeholders, invite families to get involved
  • Send emails to participants with pictures of their horse who is thinking of them, asking how they are doing, pictures of the herd asking them to find the x horse, etc. – focusing on the horse and keeping their connection with their horse
  • Send letters to participants from their horses
  • Communicate practice exercises to strengthen/maintain riding muscles
  • Riding to the Top’s Volunteer Celebration Curbside Event during Coronavirus

Examples of Reopening Plans

(All found listed in PATH Intl’s bulletins – thank you to all the centers who are sharing these!)

The Future

The future is unknown, but I have already seen people discussing what EAAT programs can do for people after the stay-at-home policies relax. There will be new PTSD cases both of virus survivors and health care workers, and how can we support them? Open up your barn to your community to come and heal? Create a new program? You can already be thinking about how to support your community through what comes next.

I’m sure there are many more things people are doing, please add to this list by leaving a comment!

I hope that was helpful to you! My thoughts and prayers are with you all as we go through this pandemic.


Note: This is not professional advice, this is a blog. I am not liable for what you do with or how you use this information. The activities explained in this blog may not be fit for every rider, riding instructor, or riding center depending on their current condition and resources. Use your best personal judgement! If you would like to contribute an activity or article, please contact me here, I would love to hear from you!

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