OPERATION FREE RIDE is a program that we created to give active duty military personnel, returning combat veterans, wounded warriors and their families the opportunity to ride a horse for free! We want them to ride a horse or experience the special bond and friendship of horses!
"There's nothing ... no bad day, no hurt feelings, no broken heart, that a ride on your horse can't cure. When riding, there's no one in the world except you and your horse. Treasure the time spent in the saddle; it is the one precious place where all the world is right. There is no hate, no crime, no pain, no war, no death. It is the one time when you are completely free. Cherish that time and hope that feeling last forever." ~ Unknown
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to sign up for a "free ride?" All active duty military personnel, veterans, Wounded Warriors and their families are eligible to receive a free horseback ride from an OFR Participating Facility.
How many times can we visit a facility? It is up to the family and the facility. In those communities where there is more than one facility, a family may visit each facility one time. In communities where we only have one, it is up to the facility about repeat visits. Many of our facilities are holding open houses to introduce their program to the community. Attending an open house does not constitute your "free ride."
When can we have our "free ride?" Operation Free Ride will kick off on Saturday, May 19, 2012 - Armed Forces Day. There will be events and open houses across the country. In Las Vegas, we are launching as part of Helldorado Days and PRCA Rodeo. You are welcome to contact any facility on our OFR Map to schedule your appointment for your "free ride." It is up to the facility if they are ready for you before May 19, 2012.
There aren't any OFR facilities near me. Please check the locations map often! We are literally adding new facilities every day. Do you have a favorite facility in your community? Contact us with a referral and we will contact the facility on your behalf.
Do I have to join Horses4Heroes to participate in Operation Free Ride? No. Operation Free Ride is open to all active duty military personnel, returning combat veterans, Wounded Warriors and their families. All of us are looking forward to introducing you and your family to our wonderful world of horses.
What if we really like a facility and we want to take lessons or pay for future rides? Will they give us a discount? First, if you and your family are looking for affordable horseback riding, we invite you to join Horses4Heroes and receive your ALL ACCESS PASS to discounts and specials! Membership is just $25/family, one-time fee. Members receive free Horses4Heroes t-shirts, a paid one-year subscription to BLAZE Kids, discounts from local western wear retailers and, of course, discounts on horseback riding lessons, trail rides, clinics and more. Most of the OFR facilities also are Horses4Heroes participating facilities. So the answer is yes, if you join Horses4Heroes, you will receive a special rate. Otherwise, it's between you and the facility what they offer and what they charge you.
What is horses4heroes? I thought it was therapeutic riding? Horses4Heroes is a Las Vegas-based non-profit organization. Our mission is to make horseback riding affordable for, and accessible to, heroes and their families. We are a national network of kid-friendly, family friendly facilities that support our mission. We serve all ages, all riding levels, we support all breeds and all disciplines. There was a program called "Horses for Heroes," sponsored by a national therapeutic riding organization called PATH (formerly known as NARHA), that serves only Wounded Warriors. PATH has changed the name of this Wounded Warrior therapeutic riding program. Our organization is an able-bodied riding program and we offer recreational, instructional and health & wellness equestrian programs and activities.
What can we expect during our "free ride?" Every facility is different. Some offer trail rides, some lessons, some do vaulting (gymnastics on horses!). Each facility will make a decision based on the size of your family, the ages of your children, and your riding ability as to what they offer. You are requested to follow their rules, regulations and policies, sign a release form, wear a helmet (required for riders 18 and under) and, if necessary, follow your doctors' orders regarding this very fun but potentially dangerous activity. When you schedule your appointment, you will be advised what to wear and bring.
Do we need to show ID to prove we are in the military or a veteran? It is not necessary to show your ID. We are glad you signed up and are honored to show you our appreciation for your service to community and country.