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 Ranch home, and riding multiple times each week was the routine from the get go. Sadly, as of June 11, 2018 the last of her horses were put down due to various serious diseases. All were in their 20’s – one being 29.
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.
Lichen Oaks Adaptive Riding Center Opens in 2015
Jean worked to design, from the ground up, the beautiful facilities that are now the Lichen Oaks Adaptive Riding Center. 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. It took years of hard work, and in 2015 LOARC opened its doors to the special needs community of the greater Santa Cruz area. Since inception, LOARC has provided countless hours of therapeutic riding to the community, and looks forward to continuing to serve the community for years to come!