Therapeutic Membership Club - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-21-2018, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Therapeutic Membership Club

Hi all! Lifelong horse person here. Question for all— for a long time I’ve been thinking of starting a horse “ club” .. kind of like a membership stable. Kind of like how fitness clubs charge for monthly membership but instead of weights and yoga classes it’s a club for people who want horses in their lives. Focusing on mental health and self care it would be an adults only club. You pay membership and have access to groom, ride, take lessons if you’d want, attend social events centered around horses... and all the horses/ponies are rescue animals. So many people— esp women in my area grow up riding and living horses- then when we are older the cost of owning becomes too much with raising families or other life events. I was thinking by having large numbers of members all chipping in, people could get a horse fix at a reasonable rate. I’d also like to offer a feee membership to people going through medical traumas . There is nothing like this that I can find near me. There are therapeutic riding centers but they focus on physically / mentally challenged and are mostly child centered. Thoughts on this idea? Would you join? I would want to keep the facility fairly small- around 12-20 horses/ponies and charge around $50-200/mo depending with different rates for types of membership
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-21-2018, 01:44 AM
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I think it's a great idea. As a mental health professional, I've thought of the same thing. I think it would be great to consider complementary activities, if there was room, such as yoga and massage therapy, and perhaps a space for social activities like a book club, movie night, etc. Horses add so much to our physical and mental health, and general quality of life. I think $100 a month would be fair for no riding, $200 ish for lessons/lease riding would be agreeable.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-21-2018, 01:57 AM
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Great idea!
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-21-2018, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback....So many people that I have talked to would love something like this. I know right now, I would pay to join something like this. My last horse passed away 3years ago,,,we had to move to a townhouse so now I'm horseless but unable to afford the boarding costs....and leases around me are in the 275-500/month range! Thanks again for the feedback. I appreciate it!
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-21-2018, 07:20 PM
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When I was a kid, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I belonged to a riding club sort of like what you are describing, except anyone who had the money could join. It was a great idea, but what happened was that the horses soon were ruined. There were nine horses that people could ride, first come, first served. All but two of them were perfectly horrible, downright dangerous. One horse, of course the one that everyone loved to ride, was one of those jewels that never did anything wrong, no matter who was on him. One horse was rideable and not dangerous, but had a few unpleasant habits. The other 7 would bolt, buck, kick their riders while trying to tack up, bite, attack other horses. I imagine when the club started, they were all decent horses, but "rental" riders tend to let misbehavior escalate.

I love your idea, but want to put in the caveat that riding would have to be closely supervised. My club was not supervised at all. People arrived, tacked up the horse of their choice, and took it out doing whatever they felt like doing for however long they felt like doing it. . . and it didn't take long before the horses were not safe to ride.
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-22-2018, 07:22 AM
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I'll be the nay-sayer...
On paper it sounds wonderful...
In reality a nightmare...
For the reasons knightrider mentions and many more...
Supervision...
Who determines what horse you ride...
Who evaluates your ability and assigns a horse, then enforces who you ride...
Who preps, schools the horses to keep them nice and enjoyable to ride...
Who pays the massive insurance policy for operations such as this....
Who makes the schedule and keeps everyone to it...
When do the horses get a day off for rest when you have unlimited riders and number of hours they can ride the way this writes...
Then you through in doing therapeutic riding on top...yea, no.
You either are a recreational facility with rentals or a therapeutic facility...rarely can the two coincide peacefully together.
True therapeutic riding facilities are geared to ALL ages of riders but not all disabilities.
Just because you not see adults, does not mean they are not invited to attend.

They may ride at times you are not seeing them...like work hours if they come from a workshop/program as part of the therapy in their life.
...
jmo...
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The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-22-2018, 09:32 AM
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I teach at a school with an 800 acre campus. A former headmaster thought it a good idea to make bicycle sharing available: Need to go anywhere fast? See a school bike? Grab it, take it to your building or destination.

In economics there is the concept of "tragedy of the commons". If it's owned by nobody, nobody feels responsibility to take care of it - it's someone else's job. Soon, abandoned bikes were found on the golf course, and it was a big hassle for maintenance to keep them in good repair. It became a joke between my wife and me to say, "Oh look! The bicycles are already in bloom!" Soon, the downsides outweighed the benefits for the few responsible users, and the program was abandoned.

Now, combine human nature with "every time you interact with a horse you train it." Combine that with "not my horse, not my problem." For the sake of the horses in that program, don't do it. People are not worth it.
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-21-2018, 10:05 AM
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I've just had a look at bike-sharing systems internationally and how that's going, and it seems to be very dependent on both the culture and the community. The country I live in is apparently one of the worst internationally for theft and vandalism of share bikes, so that Asian companies who were successfully operating such schemes at home, stopped trying to expand them into Australia - a sad indictment of our culture, and people. Similar patterns happened in the UK, but not everywhere in the UK - in some places, some systems did work - as in the US apparently. Japan, China and Scandinavia do better than average - cultures who broadly value community over individualism, and have a greater sense of civic responsibility. You can google "bike sharing schemes" to get information on all this - it's really interesting.

So while the UK, US and Australia have many examples of things going wrong when appealing to people's sense of common decency and responsible conduct, there are subcultures and communities in these countries where it does work. Horses, of course, are more complex than bicycles, so far greater opportunities to stuff it up. Still, with good organisation and an exceptional community of members, there's an outside chance that it might be able to work, even in countries like ours.
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SueC is time travelling.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-22-2018, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the feedback - both positive and negative. I guess I should have clarified... this would be a managed facility. Members would need to be assessed as to their ability/ skill level prior to admission. Horses would have a schedule to keep people from overusing certain horses. And of course all horses would be appropriately trained . A manager would be on site during business hours as well as volunteer mental health workers. . It would not be a self serve facility but a therapeutic center. We would also work in conjunction with various local mental health care professionals like social workers, physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists. Costs would be covered by member fees , grants and local fundraising through mental health networks. Members would need to sign up and schedule their “ timeshare”. Thanks to all for the feedback as it helps me to refine and reflect my goals and plans .
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-24-2018, 08:27 AM
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With your added information about how the program would work...
Sounds like a therapeutic lesson program and barn.


Managed, assessment, scheduled rides, support staff of varied medical professionals...


Sounds exactly like a therapeutic lesson program and barn.
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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