COVID-19 Updates

6/27/2020

Cheryl_1_cropped_email.jpgThe River Valley Riders Board and Staff have been meeting and discussing programming for 2020. Consistent with our efforts in the past, we have always prioritized the safety of our riders, drivers, volunteers and staff. In these uncertain times, I am writing to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to postpone programming for the River Valley Riders 2020 season. We have been closely following the advice of public health authorities, and the time has come for us to take this step.

Although very disappointing news, this decision demonstrates our firm commitment to the safety of all involved. The core participants of RVR are more vulnerable to communicable diseases than the majority of the population. The risk of illness from respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, makes it even more important to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of this virus.

Currently, we are planning for our program to return in 2021. However, we will continue to balance the risks against the important benefits we know RVR brings to our riders. We will keep you promptly informed about any updates as decisions are made.

Thanks to the generous contributions from our donors and our longstanding financial discipline, we are fortunate to have strong financial reserves in place to sustain us during these unprecedented times. Our closure for 2020 will most certainly impact River Valley Riders financially and as we move forward, we will need to replenish these reserves. Unfortunately, there is no telling when things will be “back to normal,” as safety recommendations can and will change in the future. We would be appreciative of any donation you are able to make to show support for the varying preparations we are making for next year.

Give in Support of RVR Programs!

In the meantime, we are thinking about our RVR Family and look forward to connecting virtually online via our website and Facebook. Please continue to support our program in various ways like participating in our fundraisers. We will hold these events in a different format, as the Virtual Walk-Wheel & Ride-A-Thon and the Round-Up Online Gala & Auction.  We welcome and encourage you to invite your family and friends to learn more about RVR through these online tools.  Our RVR Family has always been the heart of our organization. We are grateful to you for your ongoing support and hope you all stay safe and healthy.

If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are available to answer your questions and respond to any concerns.

Best regards,
Cheryl Holt
Executive Director

 

 

6/11/2020

Hello RVR Family,

The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted most of our lives and the near future situation is quite unpredictable. These are challenging times for us all, and we hope you are all in good spirits and health!

The RVR COVID-19 Reopening Plan is being reviewed by the Board of Directors this week. The Board will be considering the risks and making a decision about the 2020 programming by early next week. If we proceed, the earliest start date of the program will be late July.

The safety and well-being of our riders, drivers and volunteers remain our number one priority. The latest virus updates from states that started their reopening before Minnesota show increased virus cases. Most of our “neighboring” programs have not started therapeutic riding and are only tentatively planning start dates mid-summer or fall, and some have canceled therapeutic riding entirely for 2020.

As we adapt to these changing circumstances, we rely on the State of Minnesota, CDC, and PATH Intl.’s COVID-19 responses to make recommendations and guide our operation during this pandemic. Unfortunately, these current circumstances will impact our fall fundraisers, the Ride-A-Thon and Round-Up. More information will be coming out about the plans for these fundraisers. Your continued financial support is needed. The income from generous donors, like you, has enabled us to carry on in this difficult time. For that we are greatly thankful! If you can give, your donation will be matched by the FS Foundation grant.

Thank you for your patience during these unprecedented times.

Best regards,
Cheryl Holt
Executive Director

  

  

5/27/2020

PATH Intl. CEO Kathy Alm is featured in this special news story discussing the impact and challenges of the pandemic for participants at therapeutic riding centers as lessons are put on hold.

Therapeutic horseback riders eager to get back to lessons

 

 

5/4/2020

Hello RVR Family,

I am hopeful that you are coping well with sheltering in place and staying healthy. We appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing you when we can reopen!

The safety and well-being of our riders, drivers and volunteers remain our number one priority. We continue to monitor the ongoing concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus as we plan for tentative training and program start dates. We expected to make this decision after May 4th, but now with the Minnesota shelter in place order extended to May 18th, we will wait until after this new date to evaluate our plans for scheduling lessons. We will also consider the national, state and county recommendations as we plan our reopen date.

The reopen will be done in phases, with limited participants, volunteers, horses at first and gradually building up, evaluating the situation before entering into each new phase. There will be no volunteer training or lessons until at least July. More communications will follow in mid-June.

I want to remind you about the exciting $300,000 matching grant from the FS Foundation which will help fund our next phase of the Afton facility build. The FS Foundation's mission is to foster independence, sense of purpose, and access to alternative learnings and therapies. They are a private family foundation.

These Afton site improvements will include the heated office shell with finished bathrooms and observation room, heat for the indoor arena, and a separate mounting area on the south side of arena. Included in this phase is also a paved driveway and parking lot. This matching grant will double the impact of your donation to the Afton improvement fund for the expansion of services benefiting our riders and drivers.

Give Now!

Now more than ever, every gift, no matter the size, can help change the lives of our riders and drivers. With your support, RVR will come through these challenging days stronger and more resilient in our sustainability.

Thank you so much and take care. We will continue to communicate over this month regarding our reopen plans.

Best regards,
Cheryl Holt
Executive Director

 

 

4/17/2020

Hello RVR Family,

I am hopeful that you are enjoying the promise of Spring and are coping well with sheltering in place. Please share with me how can RVR help you until we can be together again.

We appreciate you!

  • Thank you dedicated volunteers and instructors - you are the hands and feet of RVR!
  • Thank you riders, drivers, and families - you inspire us!
  • Thank you generous donors - you are the heart of RVR!
  • Thank you Board of Directors past and present – for the sustainability you have created!
  • Also we thank our special horses – the soul of RVR!

We are not 100% sure when we can safely provide lessons yet. In early May, after the MN shelter in place order is lifted, we will consider the national and state recommendations and plan a start date.

I’m happy to share some very exciting news to brighten your day! RVR was awarded a $300,000 matching grant from the FS Foundation which will help fund our next phase of the Afton facility build. The FS Foundation's mission is to foster independence, self-reliance, pride of craftsmanship, sense of purpose, and increased access to alternative learning styles for under-resourced adults. They are a private family foundation. These Afton site improvements will include the heated office shell with finished bathrooms and observation room, heat for the indoor arena, and a separate mounting area on the south side of arena. A paved driveway and parking lot are also included in this phase. This matching grant will double the impact of your donation to the Afton improvement fund for the expansion of services benefiting our riders and drivers.

Give Now!

You will help change lives as together we have been doing for the past 20 years. Your gift will multiply these efforts.

Please be assured that RVR will come through these challenging days stronger and more resilient. You can depend on RVR because of the financial reserves in place to keep our expenses paid, such as the mortgage, insurance, etc.

Thank you so much and take care. We will send another update in early May.

Best regards,
Cheryl Holt
Executive Director