1. All of my instructors are PATH Int'l certified, this would be
your first step in getting started. Process can take 6 months or
2. Becoming a non-profit will take up to a year, get a lawyer involved to get things going a little faster.
3. You will need to put together a board of directors, and do by-laws, get your state license.
4. You will need to have insurance. Markel Insurance is who we use, and they have reasonable rates.
- need to be VERY WELL TRAINED, all of our horses have gone through testing
for the program, and all have been trained with Clinton Anderson
Downunderhorsemanship Fundamentals. This is the method that we teach to
the soldiers also. These soldiers are in the process of healing the
last thing you want is to add another injury to their recovery process.
6. Maintaining horses is expensive. We
lease all of the horses, to keep overhead down for Rainier Therapeutic
Riding. This way if a horse is no longer able to do the program, he or she goes back to the original owner, instead of the program needing to care for
a horse that cannot be used.
come from the Warrior Transitition Battalion at Joint Base Lewis
MCChord which is a Army/Air Force Base. But the two branches of the
military here do not have their wounded soldiers together. The Air
Force has what is called a Medical Flight for their soldiers. for the
WTB it is the occupational therapy department that transports out the
soldiers that sign up for our classes. With the medical flight I work
with the Nurse Case Managers who have the Air Force Doctors refer the
patients to us. My VA riders, I have a case manager that also brings
the Vets out to the program. We attend once a month what they call Town Hall Meeting
that all of the 700 men and women in the WTB have to attend each
month. We put together a short power point presentation on our program
to show at this meeting. Then the men and women can sign up list for
our program on their way out of the meeting. The OT then works with us
to get medical releases and the soldiers to fill out our applications.
None, No issues
at all with the doctors signing off. I have some VA vet riders that just go into their primary care provider. Our rider application is available in PDF format on our "Becoming a Rider" page.
are right on track with desensitzation and ground work. Our riders are
on the ground for 4 weeks before I have them up on the surcingle.
Clinton Anderson's DownUnder Horsemanship is how all of our horses are
trained and what I teach to the soldiers. It is VERY SAFE which is our
first priority. I have three classes during work hours on Monday's two
beginner classes and one intermediate class. all are 1 1/2 hours long,
with a 10 minute break in the middle of the class. FOOD is a great
break time thing to have. Getting them to start mingling with fellow soldiers and the
volunteers is very helpful in their recovery process. I have one six
hour advance class on Wednesday's we are riding out on the trails on
Fort Lewis or in the mountains. These soldiers are riding a minimum of 10 to 15
miles during their 6 hour lesson time. We also work on extreme trail
challenges also. We have two more advance trail classes on Friday's
which are two and three hours long. Both are levels down from the Wednesday
class, one is a walk only trail class that heads out in the woods.
Always they are grooming their horses before hand, doing their
groundwork, sensitizing and desensitizing and other goundwork exercises
before going out on the trail.
of our five instructors are PATH Int'l certified instructors. Amazing
enough my lead volunteers that are assigned to each soldier and horse
for the eight week session, I have about half who are mental health
specialists, and other horse people. The horse is the therapist, it is
not us. The Occupational Therapist from the base is on site while we
are teaching our lessons, and just watches out that the soldiers are not
pushing it too much. As they are soldiers:)
In our beginner and intermediate classes we have the following volunteers
participate in the lesson. I have 10 soldiers in the arena at one time.
one lead volunteer per soldier, two note takers, PATH Instructor, with
an assistant Path Instructor, one photographer. We have other
volunteers that work in the lobby area which you can view the class, as
well as volunteers to water horses between classes, pick up poop, change
horses out for classes. In my three advance classes we only have the
instructors riding with the soldiers.