Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program is coming up with a fun way to ride together but apart with their first Ride-A-Thon between May 22 and June 12. 

Help support the first Ride-A-Thon for SYV Therapeutic Riding Program.
Photo contributed

Because of Covid 19, the organization’s popular Cowboy Ball, held for the past 11 summers, has been cancelled. Instead, volunteers will be setting their own 10 mile course and Riding for a cause.

Riders can simply saddle up, set their own route and ride for ten miles alone or with friends. Each equestrian is encouraged to gather $1,000 in pledges from friends, family and supporters of the Therapeutic Riding Program (although donations of any amount are gratefully accepted).

The program needs $50,000 to continue its life changing work of helping students with emotional and physical needs heal through the joy of horses.  

“We are more than a treatment for our students,” said Robin Serritslev, executive director. “We are a community.”

Certified instructors and mental health professionals help students with diagnoses such as autism, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Funds are needed to help pay for the horses’ needs while the program has been on hiatus, as well as to help the more than 70 percent of its enrolled students who are on scholarship get back in the saddle once it is safe for the program to reopen.

A PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) program, numerous studies have shown the value of horse riding to stimulate cognitive and neurological and social growth. We hope our community will support this Ride-A-Thon and assure that the Santa Ynez Valley Therapeutic Riding Program can continue its important work.

You can help this valuable therapeutic riding program which serves students throughout northern Santa Barbara County by: volunteering as a rider or pledging to sponsor a rider. Riders are encouraged take pictures or videos so that we can share in the fun and beauty that surrounds us. If you’d like to make a pledge, become a Ride-A-Thon rider or learn more, please visit or  email Serritslev at