There’s no such thing as a silver lining with COVID-19. In a strange twist of fate, however, the pandemic presents a unique opportunity for horseback riding.
Even with states gradually reopening, most sports activities for kids will take weeks or months to regroup and restart. Team sports are especially impacted, as some traditional activities such as baseball, football, soccer and field hockey don’t allow for social distancing. Many summer season activities are already canceled, and fall sports are questionable.
This leaves parents looking for easily accessible athletic activities that get their children out of the house while allowing for social distancing. Horseback riding fits this bill perfectly. In fact, anecdotal information indicates that riding lessons are already seeing an uptick in many states.
APHA is a proud supporter of the Time To Ride program. Time To Ride is an initiative of the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance. Its purpose is to introduce school-age children to horseback riding and horse care in a safe, welcoming environment through lessons at approved barns. To connect more kids with horses while helping the horse industry recover from the pandemic, the Time To Ride program has been revised to create three tiers of lesson facilities: Gold, Silver and Bronze.
“Adding the Silver and Bronze levels to Time To Ride gives us a broader base of lesson programs across the country, enabling us to fill the need for kids’ athletic activities while helping instructors and lesson facilities recover financially,” Time To Ride Program Manager Molly O’Brien said.
Lesson facilities that meet the current Time to Ride Program Facility standards will be designated as Gold tier. Silver and Bronze tiers have fewer requirements. Time To Ride provides individualized marketing materials and support so lesson instructors and facilities can publicize their lesson programs to their local markets. The marketing materials provided for local outreach will be specific to each tier.
“Lesson barns and instructors have taken a big financial hit along with everyone else because of the ongoing pandemic,” American Horse Council President Julie Broadway said. “While Time To Ride’s goal is to attract new kids to horses, as a program of the American Horse Council, it also has a role in supporting the overall equine industry. Helping lesson programs rebuild is a step toward fulfilling that larger mission.”
To learn more about Time To Ride, review the requirements and apply, visit timetoride.org.
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves, and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.
About Time To Ride
Time To Ride is managed and funded by the American Horse Council Marketing Alliance. The Marketing Alliance was founded by a consortium of equine-related corporations and organizations to encourage and support the growth of the U.S. horse industry. Current members of the Marketing Alliance include: Active Interest Media/Equine Network, American Horse Council, Purina, Spalding Laboratories and Zoetis. Additional support is provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, National Reining Horse Association, Troxel Helmets and Weaver Leather. Educational support is provided by Certified Horsemanship Association, United States Equestrian Federation and United States Pony Clubs.