A Dream Come True for Founder Jean Kvamme
Lichen Oaks Adaptive Riding Center is the vision of its founder and Executive Director, Jean Kvamme. Jean’s vision grew out of her love of horses and her dream of creating a special place where others could experience healing and joy through interacting with horses.
Jean wasn’t always a rider. She was raised in the Mission District of San Francisco – not a place known for horse riding. Further, her family’s resources could never have accommodated expenditures for horse lessons. Jean is not sure why she has always been attracted to horses but that love has existed since childhood. After marrying, raising three boys and engaging in civic activities, a turning point in Jean’s life came in the mid-1990s when she and her husband accepted an invitation to spend a day riding on a ranch in Carmel Valley, California. The dye was cast; the hook was set; or in more equine terms, the bit had been taken. On returning home, Jean began taking riding lessons and set out to learn more about these amazing animals, horses.
Roots for the Center are planted when Lichen Oaks Ranch is purchased
Not long after beginning to ride, Jean started thinking how wonderful it would be to have her own horse. Shortly thereafter, Jean and her husband bought the beautiful Lichen Oaks ranch property in Felton, CA, named for the abundant lichen present on virtually all of the 1,000-plus oak trees. Soon, there were five Peruvian Paso horses calling Lichen Oaks home, and riding multiple times each week was the routine from the get go.
Friends experience the therapeutic benefits of horsemanship
Friends invited to ride with Jean all agreed that riding was a wonderful therapy for various circumstances in their lives. Jean saw, firsthand, the healing value of horsemanship for these friends. She was struck with the idea of making the ranch available for this therapeutic purpose for others in the community, but realized that facilities would have to be upgraded to meet the needs of such a center.
The Lichen Oaks Adaptive Riding Center is founded and joins PATH International
After the Lichen Oaks Adaptive Riding Center was founded, facility upgrades to meet the needs of people with special needs were completed in early 2014. The Center is housed in two impressive buildings: a nine stall barn with full facilities for horse care and a covered arena with a viewing room. Jean was introduced to the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) and immediately saw the benefits of aligning her program with this nonprofit organization. Jean became a member and LOARC became a PATH Intl. Member Center as soon as it qualified.