Now that the Sonoma County Shelter In Place (SIP) orders are being loosened, we are ready to move forward with our phased reopening. Here is an overview of the phases. Clients and volunteers will be receiving this by email, along with a list of our safety protocols for the reopening.

Next week, we open the barn to visits by clients and volunteers. Click here for the online link to select a time slot. This will be Phase I. The time slots will be 20 minutes long, with 10 minutes in between so that there is no overlap of guests, and so that there is time for disinfecting. Please note: Visits must be scheduled. Guests can bring family members (or others) with whom they have been sheltering. We anticipate that this will run for the first two weeks of the reopening, and we will use this phase to test our new procedures.

Following that, in Phase II we will implement more traditional programming, though we will not be reopening with a full schedule, and the length and format of lessons will be changing. We will begin with our independent clients who require no volunteer support while riding, and who can mount and dismount fully independently. We will be moving from group lessons to private or semi-private lessons (2 riders maximum), and the lessons will accordingly be half an hour long.

Next will be Phase III in which we will add clients who require mild volunteer support. We may train willing family members and caregivers to help with mounting and dismounting and/or with side walking, as needed. We may also add groundwork lessons for those who do not meet riding criteria, and who can socially distance.

At this time, we do not feel that we can safely provide programming for our maximum support clients, those who require two to three volunteers. This is for both the safety of the rider and of the volunteer, and to comply with county regulations. These clients will, of course, be welcomed to schedule visits at the barn for some Vitamin H time.

We have not yet assigned dates to the phases, but will share them as we do. Throughout all of our planning, safety will be at the forefront, so we want to take the time we need to ensure that all involved (clients, volunteers, instructors) feel confident in the format of lessons, the cleaning and disinfecting protocols, etc. Please note, this is our thinking as of today. It will undoubtedly evolve as we move forward, and we welcome your input at all times. We won’t get everything perfect right out of the gate, but will always be working toward providing the safest and most comprehensive services we can in the safest manner possible. Please be patient with us.

As always, stay safe and well. We miss you all!