Get Involved-Spotlight: Ride On Center for Kids
Mission: Improving independence and life skills, in partnership with the horse
Vision: A dynamic leader in equine-assisted activities through service, research and higher learning.
Type of Organization: Non profit 501 ( c ) 3 organization , accredited by the North American Riding for the Handicap Association
R.O.C.K. was founded in 1998 by Nancy Krenek, a licensed physical therapist and horse lover. Nancy wanted to bring a catalyst for change to individuals with disabilities. Realizing that “movement creates change”, she started with one horse and four Clients. Nancy’s vision has grown to over 190 clients and their families, 23 horses, 23 staff and over 350 volunteers. R.O.C.K. sits on twenty acres of donated land and is housed in a $1.5 million facility paid for in its entirety by donations and grants from the Central Texas community. R.O.C.K. is currently the largest provider of hippotherapy and therapeutic riding services in Central Texas, and is one of only 177 NARHA Premier Accredited Centers in the United States.
Location: R.O.C.K., is located in beautiful central Texas, residing on 20 acres in Williamson County, 25 miles from downtown Austin and two miles off of I-35. R.O.C.K. operates in a 42,000 square foot facility, complete with a therapy room and covered arena.
R.O.C.K. is NARHA Premier Therapeutic Riding Center housed in a 42,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility with a licensed PT/OT therapy clinic, classrooms, offices, handicapped accessible bathrooms with shower, full kitchen, covered arena, outdoor trails, pastures and 20 horse stalls.
Major benefits of Equine Therapy: Improved Muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development, and emotional and psychological well-being through the dynamic reactions to the horse movement.
R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids, in partnership with the horse, improves the life potential of individuals with disabilities and disadvantaged youth through increased independence and life skills. The unique three-dimensional movement of the horse, which cannot be simulated in a clinical setting, and the extraordinary patient-horse bond create an opportunity for growth and development that cannot be replicated in any other environment.
Through the student’s interaction with the horse – whether from the ground or on its back – the student’s balance and coordination are improved, their core muscles develop, gross and fine motor skills improve, cognition and speech increase, social, emotional and behavioral functioning improve, and self esteem and confidence increase. As students build life skills and independence, they become more productive citizens in the community. Students’ improved functional skills benefit their families, neighborhoods and schools, ease pressures on the medical, welfare and justice systems, and lead to a stronger workforce and healthier communities.
Treats a variety of diagnosis including:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Learning and Language Disabilities
At risk youth
Primary funding sources: Individual contributions, civic organizations, foundation grants, corporations and 40% from tuition.
R.O.C.K. students pay 40% of the cost per session, funds must be raised to cover the remaining 60%. No one is turned away for their inability to pay, even the 40% is too much for some families, so we give an additional $30,000 per year in scholarships. Our Horses for Heroes students, injured soldiers from Iraq, Afghanistan and other wars, are not ask to pay a fee, 100% is covered through grants and other fund raising programs. The actual cost to ride for a student is about $150 per hour.
Staff: 10 full time and 13 part time staff members: 6 administrative, 11 Certified NARHA Therapeutic Riding Instructors, 3 licensed Therapists, 1 Licensed Mental Health Professional, 1 property/facilities Supervisor, 1 stable hand and 23 schooled horses. All our instructors are NARHA Certified Instructors (one has their advanced certification), and we have 1 licensed PTs, 1 SpL and a PTA on staff.
Rockateers: Volunteers who assist the staff in all daily activities up to 17,000 hours annually.
Results: Improved Functional Lifeskills…..improved independence.
R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids
- Honor: making choices which honor the individual (student, family, staff, volunteer, donor) and the horse.
- Service: providing service to children, adults and their families.
- Curiosity: providing an environment of inquiry leading to research and learning.
- Integrity: ensuring all business is based on ethical principles and conducted with openness and honesty.
- Compassion: providing a culture of safety, understanding, and ethical treatment for individuals and horses in all equine-assisted activities.
- Education: promoting an environment of learning for students, families, volunteers, staff, peers and community.
- Collaboration: connecting and partnering with individuals and organizations who share the vision of improving life skills for individuals.
- Access and Inclusion: promoting diversity and opportunity in equine-assisted activities.
- Excellence: promoting excellence in all endeavors.
- Innovation: encouraging and supporting creativity, inquiry and research.
- Professionalism: enhancing the value and credibility of the industry.
- Spirit: igniting in all who enter the spirit of R.O.C.K. (the mission, vision and core values)
R.O.C.K. is always looking for dedicated volunteers!
Please look over the list of volunteer positions and training requirements. This will give you a better understanding of the duties our volunteers perform and what training is required to participate.
For full information on how to volunteer, go here.
R.O.C.K. offers volunteer training sessions each month. These courses cover R.O.C.K. procedures, reinforce safety practices, and promote volunteer involvement. Regardless of prior experience, anyone wishing to work with the horses or clients must be trained and demonstrate competency in the area they wish to assist.
KUT News and Public Media Texas profiled the organization last year in 2009. Check out the slideshow and video below.