Established in 1979, Project R.I.D.E. provides therapeutic recreational horseback riding instruction to children and adults with special needs. Located in old town Elk Grove with a 34,000-square-foot, fully-enclosed arena and 16 horses, this nonprofit annually serves more than 600 riders with challenges and special needs through 10-week sessions that run year-round.
“We’re overcoming some effects of the pandemic, as we had to close operations at times to protect our most physically and medically fragile participants,” says Tina Calanchini, executive director. “Getting these riders back in the saddle, rebuilding core muscle strength, fine motor skills, balance, coordination, confidence and socialization is a high priority. They’re reestablishing that bond of trust in our horses and volunteers.”
“Getting these riders back in the saddle, rebuilding core muscle strength, fine motor skills, balance, coordination, confidence and socialization is a high priority.” —Tina Calanchini Executive Director
With training and compassion, Project R.I.D.E. volunteers are successfully re-engaging participants who are discovering the emotional joy, mental inspiration and physical benefits that have made this organization a success for nearly 44 years. “We are 95-percent volunteer operated, so our volunteers mean everything to us,” Calanchini says. “The pandemic shifted many lives, though, so we are actively looking to increase our volunteer team. We provide thorough training and invite anyone with love and compassion for people and animals to join us in our mission.”
The pandemic has also financially impacted many families’ ability to enroll a participant, so Project R.I.D.E. is grateful for the community’s support in the form of tuition for riders. The Arnold Law Firm exemplifies support from the business community that Calanchini says is vital and immensely appreciated.
“We support Project R.I.D.E. for the opportunities it gives to challenged riders and the amazing horses that carry them,” says Cheyanne Anquoe, chief operating officer of the Arnold Law Firm. “Like Project R.I.D.E., our firm has been around since the 1970s and has given back to the community in countless ways. We want to spotlight Project R.I.D.E. to ensure the community recognizes their program’s amazing work and results.”