Ride to Survive

About Us

Mission Statement

The Ride to Survive Fund strives to raise awareness about the multiple kinds of abuse that affect our community, such as domestic violence and sexual assault. Our goal is to educate the community and raise funds for the victim services in the local area of Southern Central, PA and Northern Central, MD. Through education and charity, I believe that we, as a community, can end the abuse that happens in our homes.

A nationwide-recorded survey statistic says nearly 17.6% of women 3% of men in their lifetime will be assaulted or abused. Sadly, 44% of those victims are younger than 18 years old and it is believed that over half of victims do not report their assaults, including myself among them. No only do men, women and children suffer from domestic violence, but family pets often suffer from the violence within the home and either end up neglected, maimed, tortured or killed before they can even be taken to the shelter to be humanely euthanized to save them from suffering or livestock auctions due to inability to protect yet another endangered family member.

In fact, family pets are the first victims in an abusive home. Pets are often used as a manipulation tool to control the human members of the family because the pets can’t report abuse in the home.

Many children who are abused long term are often removed from violent families and placed into the Foster System. They frequently move from home to home, with evidence of lasting trauma which therefore damages their ability to bond and trust caregivers. These children are often diagnosed with attachment disorders because of their abusers and have difficulties finding permanent families who have the patience to help them heal.

Ride To Survive holds an Annual Horse Show each year in order to raise awareness of this often ignored and misunderstood crisis, and to help combat the crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, which often has damaging effects on the entire family. Because horses have been a form of therapy for me and many others, Candy Cole of High Ridge Farm of Manchester, MD is partnering with Ride To Survive by hosting a fun English/Jumping Horse Show for equestrians and horse lovers, in which participants compete for ribbons and Champion/Reserve Champion placement. A silent auction with lots of horse lovers’ goodies and treats will be out for non-equestrians.

All of the proceeds will be divided to the victims services of most need, including women’s shelters, children’s shelters and animal shelters.

Horses are great healers. They are a prey animal and by nature are hyper-vigilant to their surroundings. They shy away from aggression and show appreciation for kindness but also teach them about regaining boundaries- something victims long for. That is why so many victims heal well with horses. Horses can also come from situations where they too were on the ill receiving end of an abusive relationship and their understanding and kindness go a long way towards a victim’s recovery.

The Ride to Survive Fund’s Annual Horse Shows salutes the survivors who bravely keep going despite adversity. Ride to Survive uses horse shows to bring the community together as well as encourage new survivors to come out of their shells and help educate what happens in our front yards.


The Ride to Survive Fund was co-founded by Danielle Knell and Nicole Wiley- two best friends who found horses to be their best therapy in a difficult world. Danielle born and raised in Carroll County, Maryland (on the border of MD and PA) was born with congenital heart disease, was a true all around fighter. She grew up wanting to become a social worker to become a therapist for abuse victims and had just been accepted into graduate school. She met Nicole who is has epilepsy and survivor of childhood emotional abuse and sexual assault, domestic violence during her college years and was again assaulted by a co-worker as an adult. She moved to rural southern-central Pennsylvania with her husband to begin a new life. That’s when Nicole and Danielle met at High Ridge Farm in Manchester, MD and realized they were a match made in heaven. They therefore became inseparable. They wished everyone who had an ailment or who had suffered could feel the joy that they felt when in the saddle. In 2010, they began planning their first ‘Ride to Survive’ event for Domestic Violence Awareness. Sadly, Danielle passed away from Congenital Heart Disease two months before her very first Ride to Survive event in October 2010. Nicole continues her legacy, fighting for other victims and survivors.

The Ride to Survive Fund is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that, located in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. We are now advocates for survivors and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse.


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