You don’t have to travel far from downtown Dripping Springs to find a special place that helps hundreds of people each week. RED Arena is a nonprofit, premier accredited therapeutic riding center with a mission to empower individuals with disabilities through horses. RED stands for “riding equines for the disabled.” The organization’s goal is to help every participant develop skills and confidence that can be carried into every aspect of their life.
Founded in Dripping Springs in 2008 with just six children in physical therapy on horses, the organization has grown to serve more than 200 children and adults of all ability levels each week. RED Arena opened a second location in San Marcos in 2018 and purchased land in 2020 to expand in Dripping Springs.
Dani Derner’s son Liam is two and a half. He has level 2 Autism and is highly sensory-seeking.
“We heard about RED Arena from a local mom and called right away for an interview,” she says. “Horse therapy is a well-known practice with so many wonderful benefits. In tandem with the other therapies he receives, we use this to reinforce all of the other goals he is working on.”
The organization has expanded to serve more of the community through its gift shop which offers job training for adults with disabilities, as well as educational programs and family support services. They also partner with other nonprofits to provide safe and empowering horse experiences that benefit their programs and participants.
“RED Arena is something he looks forward to each week. He gets to ride his horse, be outdoors on the trails, and have fun! As a mom, I wanted a safe place for my son to enjoy himself outdoors,” says Dani. “The staff genuinely cares about each of the riders and knows exactly how to tailor their approach to the needs of each person. Liam always has a blast!”
“From the beginning, the support from our Dripping Springs community has made our program possible,” says founder Jennifer Young. “From capital donors to Round-Up sponsors to volunteers to shoppers in our gift shop, we are so grateful and humbled by the thoughtful generosity of our community.”
REDArena.org | @REDarenaTX