Therapeutic Riding Returns to Richmond Texas

ThHouston’s Therapeutic Riding Centers will host a Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at their newest site, the Equestrian Center on the campus of Richmond State Supported Living Center in Richmond, TX. The festivities will start at 4:00 p.m., will offer appetizers, guided tours, riding demonstrations, and welcoming remarks. The event will conclude by 8:00 p.m..

SIRE, a Premier Accredited Center through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH Intl), has three sites serving those with disabilities in the greater Houston area. Among the three sites in Spring, Hockley and now Richmond, they serve approximately 200 riders per week.

The collaboration with Richmond State Supported Living Center represents a new level of partnership between a non-profit organization and a State-run facility. RSSLC offers and maintains a world-class equestrian facility with SIRE providing the horses, world-class PATH Certified Instructors and staffing to serve both SIRE clients and the residents of Richmond State.

Speakers at the Grand Opening will include Joe Vesowate, Assistant Commissioner for Texas State Supported Living Centers; Cody Hogue, president, SIRE Board of Directors; Dee Koch representing the George Foundation.

The Equestrian Center, built in 1992 through the generous support of the Moody Foundation, the Houston Endowment and the George Foundation, among others, was established to keep Richmond State “at the leading edge of habilitative and rehabilitative technology and treatment,” as stated on the center’s sign. Adding SIRE’s expertise in the field of therapeutic riding allows for the expansion of services to a larger percentage of the resident population, brings the community on campus and allows SIRE to expand its ridership. It is truly a partnership for the benefit of all.

The true heroes of this venture are the volunteers. Without their support, the clients could not ride. Though all SIRE riders are working toward the greatest level of independence they can accomplish, some require substantial assistance. All require some volunteer assistance.

A single lesson for three riders can require nine volunteers – three to lead the horses and six walking alongside the riders (two per rider) to assist with balance or to repeat the certified instructor’s directions. As ridership increases, so does the need for more volunteers to keep the riders safe and allow them to progress. Volunteers are provided training and are matched up with specific riders for a semester-long series of lessons.

For more information on the grand opening or interest in volunteering for SIRE, please contact Maryann Gerity, Volunteer Coordinator at vc.fortbend@sire-htec.org, 281-344-4308. For more information on SIRE, please visit our website at www.sire-htec.org.

ABOUT SIRE

The MISSION of SIRE is to improve the quality of life for people with special needs through therapeutic horseback riding and therapies and related activities. SIRE’s vision is to provide the highest quality therapeutic horseback riding and related activities to all those who can benefit. SIRE is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International premier accredited center serving 200 riders per week with three sites in the greater Houston area, and has been in operation since 1983. SIRE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Elijah Khan on Tikki SIRE 2012 Ride-a-thon. Photo credit James Pharaon