“Staying connected, while being apart.” That has been our mantra since we suspended on-the-farm programming abruptly in mid-March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within days of the unimaginable happening, our dedicated team adapted by creating virtual programming. With their commitment to stay connected to the vulnerable populations we serve and their creative efforts, we have been able to provide educational videos to our special riders and our veterans! We have also stayed connected to our volunteers by providing educational and training via videos to enhance their volunteer experience!
Even though the videos provide a variety of educational and recreational activities for all who view them, our riders and their families are looking forward to returning to the farm and participating in riding lessons, when it is safe for all to do so. While other riding stables may be open on a limited basis, CTR is still suspending programming at the farm out of concern for the wellbeing of our clients, volunteers, families and staff. CTR does not offer any independent riding lessons. Every rider we serve needs physical assistance in order to ride which necessitates close physical contact.
As we anticipate that virtual programming will continue to be our connection to our riders into the months ahead, we need your help to keep the connection going. Unlike traditional therapeutic riding lessons, which may be covered by special funding for our clients, our virtual program may not be covered. We know that everyone experienced an impact because of this coronavirus. Families with children and adults with differing abilities often experience disruptions in different ways. As the effects of the global pandemic continue, many of our rider’s families have experienced lack of appropriate childcare, reduction in pay and for some, loss of their jobs, putting a bigger strain on their already strained lives. CTR wants and needs to continue to serve our clients via virtual programming without adding any additional stress to their family. You can help us stay connected, while being a part.
What can you do to help? You can directly support our clients by making a donation via check or credit card at www.ctrchanginglives.org to support virtual programming, which brings connection and joy to their daily lives during our time apart. No amount is too small to make a difference in our rider’s lives.
In a time when everyone can embody grace, patience, and generosity, we thank you for ensuring CTR continues to serve the people we hold dear.
I am grateful for Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding because it allows my daughter, Samantha, to excel in a non-competitive
environment. Samantha is on the Autism Spectrum and with that comes many challenging behaviors. Samantha’s confidence and
self-esteem have greatly increased over the last several years. With the ever-changing COVID-19 environment and the need to
utilize all aspects of technology, CTR’s ability to go virtual with their programing has been amazing. They have encompassed all
areas of the on-site lesson and even included a special segment for the parents from each of CTR’s board members.
The uncertainty of our current times makes it all the more important to continue to be able to offer this type of programming to our
children and young adults who are already experiencing so many changes in their lives. CTR is a phenomenal place. Your
contribution will ensure that children like Samantha remain connected to their horses and will have a place to go where they feel
accepted and have a sense of belonging.
– Michelle, Mom
My daughter, Ainsley, has been a weekly participant in the therapeutic riding program at CTR for a number of years. She is a 24-year-old quadriplegic with moderate/severe cerebral palsy.
CTR has been vital for her physical progress and emotional wellbeing. The farm is a place of challenge, healing, connection, and joy for her. She loves her friend, Sally, who she rides for her lessons. It is the only time that she is mobile with an unobstructed line of sight. For a window of time, she is free. Her joy is expressed in her smile, and the smiles of her volunteers and staff. Since the pandemic, CTR has been remarkable in maintaining their connection and supportive services to their riders and families. The virtual programming has been a welcome and vital respite in her daily routine during the pandemic. It addresses all aspects of adaptive recreation: physical exercise, cognitive thinking, emotional wellbeing, and social interaction.
Most importantly, Ainsley doesn’t feel isolated or alone because she can still stay connected to something she loves. For this reason alone, the CTR virtual programming is worthy of support. It is imperative that we ensure the future of CTR.
– Dan, Dad
Kudos to you and the team!! Anna started her morning off with the virtual lesson. I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I shouldn’t have been. After all, you have to be flexible and creative when working with people of differing abilities. Thinking outside the box and designing lessons in a non-traditional format was already in your wheelhouse, but it went beyond expectation. I want to give a shout out to you, Megan, Mollie, and Gayle. And each horse of the week! You all clearly put a lot of thought, time and effort into putting the lessons together. Anna (and I) have learned so much about horses. Things that wouldn’t be covered to the full extent in regular lessons (parts of a horse, grooming, saddles, etc.). They have helped Anna stay engaged physically, mentally and socially. We’ve all appreciated the calming time spent “walking” in the pasture and end with a smile on our faces. Many thanks.
– Carie, Mom
Liz and I just watched and completed the first virtual lesson. Thank you all for doing this! We must have been a sight. Liz on her broom horse and me following her to make sure she didn’t knock anything over!
– Sherri, Mom
You guys did a great job in making those videos super fun. Ben was so excited to virtually go behind the fence with Victor and wave goodnight to the horses. We’re going to watch them again and use the exercises tomorrow during our “homeschool”.
– Mary, Mom
OMGSH you all ROCK! These are amazing and you all are beyond adorable. Faith has a peanut yoga ball, which is working like a charm. Thank you all so much for putting this together.
– Karen, Mom