We had the good fortune of connecting with Brie Doherty and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brie, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
There are many names for what we do-some quite outdated and not actually representative of whats happening, but more recently called equine-assisted services for people with disabilities. Our particular realm lies within adaptive (or therapeutic) riding. With the word adaptive, we are talking about making a regular activity accessible for a person with a disability. Horseback riding is a sport that we have found a way to use to directly impact a persons physical and mental wellbeing. We are an industry that spans decades, however we are still often misjudged. With the growing popularity of animals involved in many facets of therapeutic services, its very important for us to be clear about what we do and dont do. We teach horseback riding lessons to people with disabilities. We bring sport and recreation to individuals who otherwise may not get to experience those things like their peers. We provide a sense of community, a team, for our clients. We offer a way for our riders to compete (if they want to) against riders at their same skill level, regardless of their ability. We offer connection (both human and equine). We offer understanding and acceptance. We facilitate friendships and inclusivity that are not forced. Our environment is fun, which is where all of the magic happens. So in short, we are not just a pony ride for people with disabilities.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Ride On has undoubtedly shaped who I am. I began volunteering with Ride On as a 12 year old. There was this undeniable feeling of being exactly where I was supposed to be. I fell in love with our work and all the things we do on a regular basis. When I turned 18, I got certified and began working for Ride On. It was a natural fit for me, I got to connect with so many different people. To this day, I love the feeling of walking up to the barn during lessons and seeing how horses and people transcend everyday life. The bond of a horse and rider is unlike anything else, and the fact that we are able to use that to improve so many pieces of someones life is still an amazing feeling. I have advanced my skills as an equestrian and instructor over the years to become a better teacher for both horses and people. I hold certifications, performance achievements and respect in my industry but that is not even close to the best part of my career. The truly great parts reside in the experiences others have, and that I get to be a part of. Like the first time someone perfects a hard won skill, the first time someone makes a friend at the barn, someone feeling true independence for the first time. More recently in my role, I am tasked with mentoring others to become instructors. This is where I get to collaborate with others and show them how important our influence is and that it truly does make a difference. I have learned that what makes Ride On so special are the same things that spoke to me as a 12 year old who didnt know a thing about horses or people. We have come a long way as an organization over the the last couple decades, but the heart of what we do is exactly the same. We welcome everyone into our community and show them the amazing things that horses and people can do together.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a little rusty due to Covid-19. This is where being an LA native should come in handy. However, I tend to stick to my comfort zone of being outside, plus I am on the boring side. Being a dog owner as well, my first question is usually “can we bring the dogs?” We would hike at many of my favorite places, ranging from Sunland to Topanga. Visit Point Dume for a swim. Head to local breweries. I am also anxiously awaiting returning to museums and Dodger games!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There aren’t really enough words to describe how my life was changed by the organization I am a part of, or the people who have supported and loved me. My mentor, Gloria Hamblin has helped me blend my passion and experience into being who I am today. She has shown me what being a great person looks like. She has devoted her entire life to our organization, and we most certainly would not be where we are today were it not for her vision and dedication to helping others. While her shoes are quite large to fill, she has given me the tools to jump in, lace them up and get going.

Website: rideon.org

Image Credits
Tess Michelle Photography

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