Members of the Rotary Club of Goleta volunteered at 8 a.m. Sunday at the Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

With heavy gloves, they pitched in and helped rebuild a new riding ring. With slug hammers, shovels and shear muscle power, they tore out the old riding ring and restructured the new riding ring, so that the area was more conducive to the one-on-one with rider, horse and volunteer staff. It was a sunny day with blue skies and happy hearts.

Sally Webster, assistant director of the center, explained the key reasons for restructuring the riding ring to the members of the Rotary Club of Goleta.

» The initial arena is too large, she said, to conduct a safe and effective therapeutic riding class.

» The round pen being located inside the large arena was an obstacle and safety hazard that impeded the use of the large arena.

» The instructors could not be heard adequately in the large arena due to the extreme voice projection required just to be heard.

» The lessons for riders with learning disabilities, communication disorders and delayed processing will be able to learn many life lessons such as sequencing, geometry, team building, shapes, timing, safety and math.

» The quality of the movement of the horse is imperative to the quality of physical input to the rider. The 3D movement of the horse’s back has a direct impact on the rider’s mobility of pelvis and spine and the development of core strength, posture and endurance. By reconfiguring the shape and size of the arenas, the horses benefit underfoot by being on a more resilient surface that may prolong their longevity at Hearts.

» Hearts serves 70-plus riders a week with the help of more than 100 volunteers. Please know that you all have an open invitation to come out and see the program in action.

» If anyone is interested in volunteering, the next orientation and training is May 11. Contact Webster or click here.

Webster gave a big thank you to the Rotary Club of Goleta.

To learn more about Rotary International and the Rotary Club of Goleta go to, click here or email club president Paul Clayton at or membership chair Frances Gilliland at

The Rotary Club of Goleta meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, 521 Firestone Road in Goleta. Visitors are always welcome.

— Lynn Cederquist is publicity chairwoman of the Rotary Club of Goleta.