New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit 501C3 organization, that is dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities by using the strength and power of horses. New Beginnings is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky on 600 Bill Ferguson Road, which is about ten miles from the center of town. New Beginnings was founded in 1997 and started off with three students and three horses and only twenty volunteers at a small farm, Bare Creek Farm, on 306 Matlock Old Union Rd in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
In January of 2013, New Beginnings had an amazing opportunity placed in front of them. Jackie and Kenny Reynolds had heard about the needs of New Beginnings and offered them their farm on Bill Ferguson Road, Pine Spring Stables, this was a wonderful opportunity for them as this enabled them to be able to expand their program greatly. Pine Spring Stables is a forty four stall horse barn located on four hundred acres surrounded by rolling hills, a outdoor arena, and a space for inside lessons also. At the old barn the program had to be weather dependent because they only had space for outdoor lessons and the new space is able to let them have more lessons on more days throughout the year.
New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding (NBTR) houses twelve horses at any given time, and two cats. Nine out of the twelve horses are program horses that are used in the students lesson these horses include; Amber, Cookie, LB, Red, Leroy, Chelsea, Cooper, Liberty and Trixie. Six of these nine are quarter horses, while Trixie is a haflinger and Cookie is an appaloosa. One of the twelve horses housed at NBTR is a miniature horse named Princess, she is a therapy horse used for hospice visits, field trips, and local parades. The other two horses are non-therapy horses; Flight is an retired racing Thoroughbred and the other horse is one of the instructors horse that she boards there. New Beginnings has three full time paid staff members and nine instructors, who are volunteers and they are in charge of the students lessons. You can contact New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding at 600 Bill Ferguson Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101, you can contact them through email, [email protected], or by phone 270-777-3600.
There are many types of typical disasters that could happen at New Beginnings on any given day. This is just like any other facilities whether it houses animals or not, disasters and emergencies can occur at any time and you must be properly prepared for them. As New Beginnings is a facility that houses twelve horses, and have lessons with students with disabilities. They need to be prepared for not only major natural disaster and emergency that can take place but also, emergencies with the horses themselves or between the horse and the rider. New Beginnings stated that they have a list of common emergencies that they feel to be the most prepared for. These emergencies include; potential emergencies with the horse and the rider, general procedures for injuries, or illness of the horse or human, fire emergency, tornado threat, earthquake, heaving flooding, and extreme cold or hot temperatures. This are the most common emergencies or disaster that would take place at the New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding facility.
New Beginnings has all of there most common disasters listed out with their emergency plan of that specific event. First of all, they state that in the case of any emergency the instructor is the person in charge of that situation, while everybody else should remain calm and listen for the plan and details of what to do next. In the event of a disaster, the instructor may choose another person to take notes of the events happening. They also have two phones located in the barn for emergency situations, a list of emergency numbers are posted above both phones. One phone is located in the front portion of the barn in the office, and the second is the the back half of the barn on the wall by the grooming bays by the tack room.
They have emergency plans listed out, for example, in the case of a fire emergency they have a evacuation plan and they have four fire extinguishers in the barn, one located in the office, on on the side of the mounting ramp, by the tack room, and the last one by the small back door. The evacuation plan for a fire emergency consists of dismounting the rider from the horse safely and camly, and the sidewalker will take the student to the grassy area by the flagpole. The leader would be in charge of the horse, keeping it calm, taking it to the pasture, removing tack, and releasing him. They would then meet up with everybody else at the flagpoles in front of the barn. This seems to be the most detailed- well planned out emergency plan and that was expected.
In the event of a tornado threats, the sidewalker is to dismount the rider in the case it is in the middle of a lesson, take them to there parent and the leader will be incharge of the horse and releasing it into the pasture once again. If there is not time to send everybody home, the following would happen then everybody would go to stalls #23 and #24 and hunker down. These are just two of the emergencies plans that they have detailed out. They also have plans for disasters that could happen with the horse or the rider. Some situations that may happen that they have plans for are; if the horse tries to bolt, the horse becomes over excited, the horse gets loose, or situations with the rider which include, the rider has a seizure while on top of the horse, or the rider falls off the horse.
They have detailed, step by step, plans for most of these situations listed out but the overall goal in any of these situations is to stay calm and know who is incharge of doing what. For example, the instructor while decide if the student needs to be dismounted emergently, pulled of the horse, the sidewalker will then dismount the student and place them in a safe location and stay with them, while the leader will lead the horse off away from the student.
Before talking with New Beginnings, I was not exactly sure what there biosecurity measures were. After talking with them and learning more about biosecurity, I was able to realize that even though they may not have a place to clean your shoes or you don’t have to change clothes before entering the facility they most definitely have biosecurity measures set in place to prevent the spread of harmful diseases. The first biosecurity measure New Beginnings has set in place is upon entering the facility you must sign in, this is able to track who or what may have exposed a pathogen. They also have daily cleaning chores within the facility, which include, mucking stalls, dusting, taking out trash, cleaning and sanitizing tack, etc. They clean the water troughs once a week with bleach to ensure the water is not be contaminated. They also do not allow any other animal on the facilities property, including dogs. The last biosecurity measure they mention is they stay up to date on all the proper vaccines for the animals.
After, talking to New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding in Bowling Green, Kentucky I was able to collect and learn a lot about the facility that I was not fully aware of before or just had not thought about in a certain way. I believe New Beginnings overall is prepared and knowledge about emergency situations that may take place on their farm. They stated that their emergency plans are reviewed and edited on a regular basis and they encourage questions or comments and them from anybody concerned. Even though they may have detailed plans for the common disasters, they said that the plans will not be practiced, only reviewed with the volunteers and personal.
So, I think that is something that could change for the better. Practicing emergency plans are vital, I understand not being able to practice with the students, but I do believe that the students should be aware of the common meeting location, the flagpoles, and common knowledge like that. Volunteers at New Beginnings are required to go to a volunteer training every year, during this training is when the emergency procedure are talked about and presented but, besides talking about them nothing else takes place. I think in order to be prepared these procedures should be practiced at the training, like a fire emergency, or a tornado threat and practicing getting to the correct stalls and hunkering down. I also think that the procedures should be spoken about more than once, at least twice a year the volunteers and staff should review these procedures.
Also, even though they have procedures listed out, most of the plans occur during a students lesson. They do not have a plan, for emergencies that may happen when there are no students and lots of volunteers around. For example, if a fire was going to occur on a weekend and nobody is present at the barn, what is the plan? The horses specific tack is always located outside of the stall but, they do not have a plan of how all the horses would get out of the barn safely. So, I think they need to revise and think of those situations where students and volunteers or nobody may be present.
In terms of biosecurity measures they have set in place, I think the ones they do have are pretty common among other facilities and the are manageable. In their situation where they have so many people coming into contact in one horse alone, it can be hard. But, I think there biosecurity measures are good as long as they are truly being carried out properly. Overall, that is New Beginnings Therapeutic Riding emergencies plans, and biosecurity measures that they have set in place and how they feel prepared for any disaster that may come their way.
- Carter, S. (2018, September 14th). Phone Interview.