On 4/05/2016, the Magnolia Rotary Club Members took a field trip and visited the Joy Ride Center in Magnolia, Texas to present them with a $1,000 check and get a tour of the center to learn what they are all about. Pictured in the above photo from left to right is Carl Gerhardt (Rotarian) and Alexis Winder (Director of Development for Joyride). Carl & Alexis are holding the photo plaque that Joy Ride gave to the Magnolia Rotary Club in recognition of their gift to Joy Ride. Alexis is holding the check in her left hand.
The members of the Joy Ride Center and the members of the Magnolia Rotary Club who attended ate a lunch from Chick-fil-A that the Rotary Club brought out for everyone. After the lunch, Alexis Winder and Lee Ruonavaara (Therapy/Education Team Leader for Joy Ride) gave the members of the Magnolia Rotary Club a tour of the area explaining all about their program for various special needs students and how everything works.
Lee explained that the Mission of the Joy Ride Center is to help people with different abilities to find more joy in life through equine-assisted activities and therapies, along with functional/life skills education. Alexis explained that the Joy Ride Center was started with only that idea, some land and absolutely no money. Over the years, they have achieved much without the help of any government aid but with the support of the local community and generous private donations.

Joy Ride was formed in 2009 by a group of visionary veterans in the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies. Located on 10 beautiful wooded acres between Magnolia and Tomball, Joy Ride has been blessed with a beautiful facility, a herd of very special therapy horses and dedicated volunteers that make the impossible into the POSSIBLE for their clients! 

Joy Ride provides family-centered activities so all can share the joy of God's wonderful creation. They are a community that believes God's gift of horses helps their clients to learn, grow, and reach their full potential. Their program includes Hippotherapy, therapeutic horsemanship, school based activities, competitions and vocational education.

The Joy Ride Center also offers Physical Therapy Services that focus on functional rehabilitative skills such as posture control, motor coordination, gait improvements, communication, cognitive skills and psychosocial activities. The Joy Ride Center provides a truly unique and natural setting to achieve maximum therapy outcomes.

Sessions are 45 minutes to include therapy on and off the horse. These sessions include activities that provide improvements in static and dynamic balance, gait, motor planning, educational readiness and interpersonal skills. Another unique characteristic at Joy Ride Center is the value of the therapeutic team, which includes the horse, volunteers and staff, all working together to enhance the quality of the client's session. Horses significantly enhance therapy outcomes based on their unique movements and their unconditional acceptance. If possible, they like to have at least three volunteers for every client. This adds up to almost 80 volunteers to help run the sessions.

Alexis and Lee then took everyone on a tour showing everyone their buildings and tack room and explaining how riders who are physically unable to mount a horse are helped on using a ramp and lift to get them on the horse. They also walked everyone around the grounds showing everyone the course that the horses go through that give the riders therapeutic things to do. Lee also took everyone to the back of their property and explained how heavy rains are causing the back of the property to fall into the deep creek ravine there. Lee explained that the problem has now become their number problem to solve.

Alexis and Lee then answered many good questions from the Rotarians who attended. The outing was very informative and enjoyed by everyone.

Some additional photos taken during the day can be seen below: