Policies & Procedures

The Stoneybrook Foundation has developed the following policies for the 2017 – 2018 season. As a Premier Accredited Center (PAC) through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, Intl., the Stoneybrook Foundation abides by all Standards, Guidelines, Policies (including Precautions and Contraindications) and the Code of Ethics as set forth in the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification & Accreditation Manual.

The Stoneybrook Foundation operates on a session scheduling system. We will hold four sessions per year with a one-week break between sessions, designated a “make up week.” Sessions lessons may be weekly or bi-weekly, and will last up to one hour. Lessons may be mounted or unmounted, at the instructor’s discretion.

We serve individuals over the age of 4 years. An assessment and screening process conducted by staff determines eligibility for the program.  The assessment process lets staff determine which program activities, if any, would be safe and appropriate for the individual and what resources are required (e.g., horse, riding equipment, volunteer and staff manpower).

New participants must complete a paperwork packet including a physician’s medical form that is filled out by their physician yearly. All paperwork is required to be updated annually. This paperwork is provided at the rider’s orientation, and must be completed before the rider can participate in the Stoneybrook Foundation activities.

Once a participant is accepted into the program, the Instructor will establish individual long-term goals and short-term goals for that participant. Lesson plans help the instructor track a rider’s progress, and goals are reevaluated annually. Participants ride either weekly or bi-weekly in lessons that average 45 minutes in length.  Lesson activities may include developing basic riding skills, exercises, playing games on horseback and riding on trails. Not all lessons are mounted lessons, since learning horsemanship skills involves more than mounted activities and riding.

Limitations

A successful therapeutic riding program emphasizes safety and maximizes the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding. Due to the capacities of volunteer side-walkers, program horses, insurance requirements, and industry standards, our center is limited to accepting students with the following characteristics:

  • Weigh less than 225 (for the well-being of our horses and the safety of staff and volunteers when assisting in mounts, dismounts and emergency procedures, staff reserves the right to recheck a student’s weight between yearly paperwork completion dates)
  • Can be effectively supported by side-walkers
  • Do not exhibit conditions that contraindicate equine assisted activities
  • Do not threaten the health or well- being of other participants, horses, staff or volunteers
  • Have current paperwork, including signed and dated medical release
  • Will benefit physically, emotionally, socially and/or cognitively from a therapeutic riding program

Acceptance

A potential student is ineligible for therapeutic riding if they have a condition that contraindicates horseback riding, according to the guidelines set by PATH, Intl., or if a student is unable to adhere to the policies as set forth in this Participant Handbook.

Management, the rider’s instructor, and their healthcare provider will make the final determination of acceptance and appropriateness for specific programs for any given client. Acceptance will be re-evaluated as needed.

Waiting List

Because we strive to accommodate as many participants as we can without decreasing the quality of service to our students, we have a waiting list for services. Some new students can be added into existing lessons if appropriately matched with other riders. Many factors contribute to appropriateness of pairing students together including: horse and staff availability, student cognitive and emotional levels, student age and physical ability. Although we try to move students off our waiting list as soon as possible, we cannot guarantee that our services will be available on a first come-first served basis.

Helmets

All participants and personnel (staff and volunteers) are required to wear well-fitting protective helmets that are ASTM-SEI approved for horseback riding while taking part in any mounted activity.

Safety Stirrups

Stirrups with safety features that reduce the chance of foot entrapment are equipped on most of our saddles.  Approved safety stirrups include “S” shaped, Peacock style and Devonshire boots, and are required for students without a boot with a one inch heel. 

Footwear

Riding boots are ideal for mounted activities.  If riding boots cannot be worn, a sneaker or full cover protective shoe must be worn.  Any student without riding boots will be required to use safety stirrups.  No sandals or open toed shoes are allowed in the barn. Alternative footwear for students may be acceptable under specific circumstances. Any deviations from the footwear policy will be considered on an individual basis by program management.

Clothing & Accessories

Participants should dress suitable to the weather and season in clothing appropriate for equestrian activities.  Shirts should not be low cut, and undergarments should not be seen. Wide strapped tank tops are acceptable as long as bra straps and the midriff area are completely covered at all times. Pants need to be cut high enough that when an individual bends over the pants stay in a respectable position. Regardless of temperatures, all mounted individuals will be required to have long pants to ride. Clothing, hats or jewelry that restrict movement or vision are considered unsuitable.  If you wear dangling jewelry, you will be asked to remove it, tuck it into a shirt, or tape it against your body. Students who are not dressed appropriately may not be permitted to fully participate in their lesson.

Thoughtful conduct and self-control affect the safety and enjoyment of all participants. All persons will be expected to adhere to the following code of conduct:

  • Respect all persons—no abusive language or actions.
  • Respect all animals.
  • Respect all property.
  • Refrain from loud, abrupt noises or actions.

Individual lesson cost is $35 per lesson.  Lessons can be paid in advance or at the time of the lesson, if arrangements are made in advance.  Checks are made payable to The Stoneybrook Foundation. There will be a $30 service charge for any returned checks. Lesson payment at the time of services reserves the student’s time slot. Any student with a balance owed on their account will not be eligible to participate in lessons until the balance is paid in full. Pricing information for private lessons, classroom group rates and field trips is available from the office.

We operate on a session scheduling system. Any student with recurring scheduling conflicts during a session should not register for that particular session, since excessive absenteeism is cause for dismissal from program activities.

Students are expected to arrive and be prepared for their lesson on time. Remember, our volunteers have offered their time to help with your lesson and are expecting you! Students arriving more than 15 minutes late for a lesson will not be able to participate in a mounted lesson. They may have a ground lesson, at the instructor’s discretion, depending on availability of staff and volunteers. Late arrivals are disruptive to our schedule, and repeated late arrivals can be cause for dismissal from program activities.

If you need to cancel, please call the office at 724-613-3312 as soon as possible. We ask for a minimum 24-hour notice of cancelation, if possible, to give us time to notify volunteers and make changes to staff scheduling.

Cancelations can be communicated by phone or email. Only one make up lesson will be permitted, occurring during the break between sessions. Any subsequent cancelations will be charged. Any student missing more than three lessons in a session, even if we are notified, will be dismissed from program activities.

Late notice cancelations(those without 24-hour notice) should only occur in the event of an emergency or serious illness.Late cancelations are not eligible for make up lessons and will be charged.

Any student with more than two late cancelations during a session will be dismissed from program activities.

We do understand that unexpected medical conditions can affect our riders, and can discuss these circumstances with you on a case-by-case basis. We will permit students with a doctor’s excuse to make up one missed lesson.

Students must immediately inform the office or their instructor, in writing, of any changes in health or medication. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in weight, increased/decreased medication dosages, revised diagnoses, medical interventions, surgeries, etc. Participation in our program is based on the medical information given to us in the Participation Packet, and changes to this information could make riding unsuitable. Failure to notify the Stoneybrook Foundation of changes to the rider’s health status could result in dismissal from program activities.

Students are required to update their entire registration information and medical history forms annually. This paperwork is not only required to maintain PATH, Intl. accreditation and insurance eligibility, but also to assist instructors in creating appropriate lesson plans for students. Students are not permitted to ride without these annual renewals. The Stoneybrook Foundation notifies students prior to the expiration of these forms. It is the rider’s responsibility to have these forms completed and returned to the office.

Students/Families who cannot adhere to the policies set forth or who no longer meet the eligibility requirements will be dismissed from all program activities.

The Stoneybrook Foundation strives to provide the safest possible environment for students, volunteers, staff and visitors.  Horses, however docile, are capable of reacting in panic to unforeseeable stimuli. Working around and riding horses is a risky activity. The following rules must be followed at all times.

  • The Stoneybrook Foundation is a NO SMOKING facility.
  • Students should have empty pockets while riding. This includes cell phones, keys and toys.
  • The consumption of alcohol prior to and/or while at the Stoneybrook Foundation is prohibited, except for events approved by the Stoneybrook Foundation.
  • The use of illegal substances prior to and/or while at the Stoneybrook Foundation is strictly prohibited.
  • Use a quiet voice while in the barn and working around horses.
  • Refrain from offering food to other participants without permission as they may have a medical condition such as food allergies, diabetes, etc.
  • Please obtain permission from a staff member prior to feeding any animal. Some of our herd are on special diets, and treats could be harmful to the diet. Additionally, hand feeding our horses is strictly prohibited. If you have permission to feed a treat, please place it in the horse’s feed bucket or a feeding pan instead. Once a horse learns that people have treats on their person, they can be overly aggressive in finding more treats and may bite or knock an unsuspecting person over.
  • No dogs or other pets are allowed on the property.  Please leave your pets at home where they will be safe and comfortable.
  • Do not enter the barn, horse stalls, paddocks, arena or pastures without staff permission.
  • Do not mount unless under direction of an instructor.
  • An adult must accompany underage students at all times on the property.
  • Students must obey off-limit areas.
  • Students must be escorted by volunteers or staff members at all times while in the operating areas of the Stoneybrook Foundation.

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