Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Jones.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Sara. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I moved to Los Angeles from the United Kingdom 25 years ago when my husband was offered a job with JBL Professional in Northridge. I have ridden my entire life and was looking for ways to find new friends and to do something worthwhile so I answered an Ad in “The Recycler” looking for a volunteer to exercise horses. I had no idea what these horses did until my first visit out to the ranch in Chatsworth.
It didn’t take long before I was volunteering in the lessons that Ride On provided. Either leading horses or walking beside riders that needed help with balance. I could not believe that I had found something so worthwhile and rewarding, working with horses and kids with special needs so it didn’t take me long to train and become a certified instructor! My background in the UK was marketing and business studies – Ride On was very small at that time with only a few horses, a handful or riders and little admin/marketing/promotional support. Along with teaching, I then helped grow and expand the program, eventually becoming the Development Director and then the Chief Operating Officer. We now serve 225 clients weekly and have a budget of just over $1 Million!
I am also a PATH International Lead Evaluator for On-Site Certifications and Workshops. Working closely with the C.E.O., I am responsible for the day to day operations of Ride On’s two ranches and I also manage fundraisers/special events and marketing/social media outreach. I have a degree in Marketing and Business Studies. I have three horses that I keep at home and my daughters are both active three day eventers. I’m also the Head Coach for the Special Olympics Swim Team in Thousand Oaks. My other passion is endurance sports – I have completed dozens of triathlons including a full Ironman and I have run the Boston Marathon twice (I was there during the bombing in 2013). I am going to run my first 50 ultra trail race next weekend!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Working for a non-profit is never a smooth road! We do not receive any government funding so we have to fundraise to allow us to provide services. You wear many hats when you are involved with a non-profit and need to be flexible but dedicated – it requires commitment and hard work but it is so very rewarding!
Please tell us about Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship.
We provide adaptive riding and therapy services for those with physical and/or mental disabilities. We are one of the largest therapeutic riding programs in the entire country and I am very proud that I have been involved with building that success. We are the only accredited program in all of LA and Ventura County that provides therapy services (Physical and Occupational Therapy utilizing the horses movement). We teach or treat over 225 individuals with special needs every week from 2 ranches and we have hundreds of volunteers that assist is on a weekly basis. Our instructors are all certified and we have an extremely professional and safe program.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am very lucky that I ended up living in SoCal and managed to come across something that I realized was totally my passion – working with horses and individuals with special needs.
- Lessons are $53 each
- Address: 10860 Topanga Canyon Blvd
Chatsworth, CA 91311
- Website: www.RideOn.org
- Phone: 818.700.2971
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: rideontherapy
- Facebook: Facebook.com/rideontherapy/
- Twitter: @RideOnTherapy