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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ride On St. Louis, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Health Care

Mission: Ride On St. Louis promotes health and enriches lives through love, joy and holistic healing.

Target demographics: Children and adults with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 109 individuals with special needs. 1200 EAAT hours administered

Geographic areas served: The Great St. Louis Metropolitan Area

Programs: Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (physical therapy, occupational therapy, Wounded Warriors, Sensational Summer Camp, sports riding and adaptive riding)

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Ride On St. Louis for 18 years and am impressed by their professionalism and the quality throughout each aspect of their program. I would highly recommend them for anyone looking for equine-assisted activities and therapies services, anyone looking to volunteer or anyone looking for financial giving opportunities. The work they do in the community and for children and adults with disabilities is life changing and something I've been fortunate to witness and be involved in firsthand.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been so fortunate to have been involved with Ride On St Louis since inception, at the house barn on Old Baumgartner Rd in 1998. Watching the vision of helping children with the aide of horses has been a life-altering opportunity for all that have participated and have volunteered in ROSL programs and events. The main principles, love, joy and serving all for greater glory and love of God, can be witnessed at each client session, fund raising event and PR opportunities. The ROSL mission becomes stronger with each challenge, especially flooding and financial hardships. I am so blessed to be able to volunteer at the many fund-raising events and always leave fulfilled that my help served a great cause and memorable clients. God bless the founding members, the past and present volunteer staff and most of all, those that have been fortunate to gain quality of life improvements through this program.

Donor

Rating: 5

I took a tour of Ride on St. Louis and learned about their organization. I was blown away by the passion and dedication they have to the people they service! The benefits of their therapy to the kids they help can not be explained in a short review, go check them out for yourselves and you will be blown away and filled with hope, after seeing what they do for these kids.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a side walker for the last year and I have to say what a Blessing it is to a part of Ride on St Louis! I have seen the improvement in these kids lives each and every day of therapy. I have seen kids with better learning skills after class, writing and happy smiles enjoying themselves in therapy. I have also seen how equines therapy has strengthen the muscles of these kids, when we started with one little boy, standing on his own was very difficult and after a few sessions it was truly amazing to see the strength in his legs. It made me cry just seeing the improvement. I strongly suggest to go visit Ride on St Louis or donate for this great organization, it will truly change your life as it did mine!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer in many capacities for ROSL and have found the organization to have high standards towards both the patient/client and horses. The respect and safety maintained as a priority is always evident but is provided with a positive and cheerful atmosphere. I can understand why they continue to get good ratings with organizations like Variety Club and the BBB.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I co-chaired the very first Ride On St.Louis dinner auction fund raiser and it was successful, so we kept going. I look back and reminisce over how many lives/families have been truly touched by this experience. I say families because so many of the riders feel this is something they have all on their own that they can do. Their siblings may have soccer,baseball, etc., but this is all there's and they learn and enjoy it so much, just watch their faces light up! Besides the physical benefits, the emotional love between rider, horse, and staff is incredible!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of volunteering on and off for Ride On St. Louis over the last five years. It is truly a great professional organization. I appreciate the wholesome environment in which therapy is provided. The love and care with which the staff and volunteers work, provides a healing environment for the mind, body, and soul of the individuals they work with. There is a high level of excellence that is maintained in every facet of this organization.

Former staff

Rating: 5

I came upon Ride On St. Louis the summer of 2013. Their facilities had flooded out and I volunteered to help with cleanup. I was immediately drawn to what they do; providing equine assisted therapy to individuals with disabilities. As a military veteran who had recently returned from deployment to Afghanistan, I had heard so much about PTSD and traumatic brain injuries; and how veterans were using this type of therapy. After returning, I didn't work for some time and eventually lost motivation and became depressed. I felt somewhat guilty for coming home without injury. After volunteering with cleanup, I knew I needed to volunteer with Ride On as a way for me to give back and clear my conscience of guilt. I ended up taking a position with Ride On that September as their Volunteer Coordinator. I stayed in that position for two years until the birth of my first born required me to move on.

I had never experienced equine therapy before Ride On. I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised and amazed at the little miracles of change and progress seen with so many clients. I don't understand why, but I can attest to witnessing positive impacts in the lives of so many. The staff at Ride On have a passion for what they do and make every effort to provide the highest quality of service to their clients.

I will always be grateful for the opportunity to be associated with such a wonderful organization.

Ross B.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Ride On St. Louis offers remarkably valuable services. They provide powerful and complex therapy and therapeutic activities for people with disabilities. Services take full benefit of the relationship between people and horses.

Therapy and therapeutic techniques at Ride On St. Louis ensure consistent high quality services. As a volunteer, I am attracted to the careful supervision and close attention to safe and effective methods. Both training and regular support are very much appreciated and obviously successful. Parents and caregivers reinforce my appreciation of Ride On St. Louis’ approach and success.

In addition to the benefits that clients, participants, and their families receive, volunteers also benefit at Ride On St. Louis. I feel great each time I volunteer because I know I have done something important and I did it well. There’s a strong element of personal reward that is delightfully supported by Ride On St. Louis staff and other volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel so fortunate to be involved with Ride On St. Louis. I am nearing the end of my first 10 week session with ROSL and it has been an outstanding experience.
It is a well run and efficient organization where everyone involved is dedicated to delivering the best possible product to their clientel.
This means customizing each session to fit the riders specific needs and abilties so that each rider is safe and can gain the most both physically and mentally from the experience.... A positive experience not just for the rider but for the family caregivers as well.
ROSL plays a huge positive role in what in most cases are very difficult life situations......
all delivered to the community with respect, love, efficiency and most of all with compassion.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Ride On STL for several years. First as the parent of a client, and also as a donor. My feelings for Ride On, their team, their work, and most importantly their results continues to grow in respect and love.

I highly recommend them as the parent of a client. I highly recommend them as a donor. And I highly recommend them now that I'm on the board. Their are frugal with their means, generous with their time and attention, and more importantly they relentlessly pursue their mission to make a real difference in the lives of their clients and it shows.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have supported this organization for several years and the they work that they for the kids and families is nothing short of incredible.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Five years ago my son with multiple disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, began working with Marita at Ride On St. Louis. Marita is the founder of Ride On St. Louis as well as a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. Through this program, Marita's skills, and the patience of horses at ROSL, my son Drew has made such progress! At first it was a struggle just to be able to sit balanced in the saddle. Johnny, a Morganhorse (and Drew's favorite) was patient as my son gained the ability not only to stay balanced in the saddle, but to actually keep balanced while Johnny was led through various gaits by Marita. This brought about an improvement in Drew's walking gait, as well as his ability to run. Drew really connected with the horse when he began petting Johnny and helping to groom him, which also increased the strength and range of motion of Drew's arms. Most importantly, Drew began to attend to what was happening around him instead of "zoning out", an autism trait. Working with Marita, and Ride On St Louis, has increased Drew's confidence in connecting with other people. Drew has graduated with working with other horses, among which is Lucy. After his sessions with Lucy, Drew would enter our home announcing "Lucy! I'm hooommme!" and then tell me "that is from 'I Love Lucy" Mom!" Now my son and I talk with one another, and Drew no longer staggers about when he walks. He has gained confidence. Drew still is learning. However, I am SO thankful for Ride On St Louis, and for the work Marita has done with Drew. The results are priceless!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ride On St Louis is very unique. The grounds are beautiful making for an inviting atmosphere. The staff and volunteers are welcoming and loving making all who come feel like family. The programs are well designed and helpful making the clients progress physically and emotionally. Above all, the program director and the grant writer put their hearts and souls into helping each and every client each and every day.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I started volunteering for Ride On St Louis a little over 3 years ago because of our love for horses. Over these 3 years we have found so much more to love than horses. We have been working with the same client every session and have formed a strong bond with him and his family. To watch his progress over the years has been a joy. We also have built many new friendships with the staff and other volunteers at Ride On St Louis. We are really just one big happy family that is always there for each other. We just happen to be a family with several horses, 3 cats and a dog! We look forward to our Wednesday nights at Ride On St Louis and feel so blessed to have found such a wonderful place to spend our time.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer, I see first hand the wonderful services this organization provides. Ride On St Louis (ROSL) was founded in 1998 by Marita Wassman. She's been the Director ever since. She provides a vast amount of experience and knowledge along with dedication and compassion for the humans and the horses. ROSL is one of the few Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) programs to receive the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) certification. This treatment program is and has been improving the quality of life for children and adults. I can't say enough about how impressed I've been with the professional staff of a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapists and Instructors that prepare the treatment programs for each and every rider. They are all so dedicated. Many times they are 'hands on' with the riders during the sessions; conducting several sessions throughout the day. Safety for the riders and proper care and handling of the horses are of utmost importance. Therefore, all volunteers are required to go through rigorous training sessions in order to qualify for a position. The real reward for me is to see the happiness that each accomplishment brings to the rider and their parents. ROSL is changing lives!