The "Reading with Rocky and Friends" program reaches five Henderson County Schools and impacts over 250 students this year.
On January 18, 2020, Healing Reins of Kentucky hosted a Veteran's Family Event at Rolling Hills Equestrian in Henderson, Kentucky. The purpose of the event was to honor local veterans by providing a fun family centered event where families could strengthen bonds through horses and create a support network by meeting other local veterans and their families.
Sixteen Healing Reins volunteers participated in helping with equine centered activities; horse-back riding, miniature horse grooming, hay rides, BBQ dinner and children's activities like mini jumping, bean bag toss, coloring, and learning horse care basics. Two local Veteran's centered organizations; The USI Student Veterans Organization and Basin Law Group (NATIONALVETHELP.COM) supported the event by providing resources for our Veterans.
Healing Reins is honored to be able to host this event through the generous contribution and grant funding from the Sandy Lee Watkins Songfest Grant. More Veterans Family community events will be planned through-out 2020. Special thanks to Josh Jones for connecting our local Veterans and their families to this event and to Healing Reins.
This year we expect to grow even bigger and better! We have many new participants eager to start!
We have veterans who would find it therapeutic to work with horses. We have schools lining up to be part of the Reading with Rocky (and friends) program. We have recently made a partnership with Autism Evansville. But.... we cannot continue growing without you! Please consider volunteering in any way you can. With all of the new and exciting opportunities WE have been presented, we need a dedicated team to fulfill them. We have opportunities for YOU ranging from weekly in-the barn jobs to stay at home tasks. Some require horse experience and others do not. Below is a list of just some of the tasks that can be filled by volunteers like you! Please email email@example.com with any interest or questions.
2018- an EXCITING year for Healing Reins!
This year we were awarded 4 different grants. The Preston Family Foundation, Community Foundation of West Kentucky, Gavilon, and United Way awarded grants totaling over $50,000. Grants help us keep our lessons at a low cost and a high quality and care for our horses. The biggest award was presented by United Way, through the Venture Grant totaling $38,000 to purchase our very own "Reading with Rocky" mobile equine learning center! Healing Reins would like to thank all those involved in the grant application and donation process. Your contributions help grow our program and sustain our efforts for years to come!
2018 was the first year we offered Therapeutic Riding lessons in multiple sessions throughout the year. We had the privilege of providing therapeutic lessons for 26 riders. Over 100 first grade students participated in our pilot literacy program "Reading with Rocky". Our second pilot program, served 6 Veterans. Finally, hundreds of people were impacted in promotional appearances at Ellis Park, the Experiencing Autism walk, and Approachable Animals days on the farm.
Volunteers are the hub of the non-profit wheel that keep us moving forward. It takes a lot of time and passion to be a volunteer for any therapeutic riding program, but especially new and developing ones. Healing Reins would like to highlight some volunteers that have been devoted to us all year long. These volunteers have been prominent volunteers in lessons and at our fundraising events. They have logged many hours at the barn as leaders, sidewalkers, decorators, mini horse handlers, and so much more. The star volunteers are: Sandy Snyder, Kali Basham, Carolyn Schottel, and Jody Pfister. All of the volunteers that contributed in 2018, whether you served 1 hour or a hundred, are so valuable to Healing Reins and we thank you!
We have horses of all shapes, sizes, and talents, and we love and care for them all. We would like to highlight the horse who did the most this year. He did a tremendous amount of lessons, pony ride events, posed for pictures, and was a petting pony for multiple events. Sir Dorset showed his true potential and many people the reason we use our equine partners for therapy. He was the face of Healing Reins in many promotions. The next time you see him give him a good pat and maybe a peppermint or two!
Our program is continuing to grow in leaps and bounds! This year it was time for us to hire someone in a full time position to help with the organizational cohesion of the many programs that go on at both of our local equestrian campuses.
Monica Fella grew up in Evansville, Indiana and is a Western Kentucky University Alumni. Our focus in looking for a qualified Program Coordinator, was organization and personnel management. Monica’s experience as a Volunteer Coordinator at a hospital in Montana quickly stood out. While living in Montana, Monica became heavily involved with Eagle Mount Therapeutic Equine Program. Her volunteer hours included Therapeutic Riding instruction and continuing to become a PATH certified riding instructor and equine specialist in mental health. She also become a level 2 coach at the Equine Special Olympics while at Eagle Mount. Monica came with a great recommendation by Stacy Denton, a long time friend, who introduced her to many board members and staff while she was in town visiting over the summer.
The decision to hire a Program Director was a huge milestone in our development, but as a non-profit we needed organization and someone who could be fully committed to Healing Reins on a full-time basis. With her work experience in volunteer program management, affiliations and certifications in therapeutic riding, and personal recommendation, Monica was a clear choice for us. Monica started in October 2018 and has since taken on many projects including organizing existing programs, proposing new programming, organizing fundraisers, seeking public relations opportunities and being the community relation for Healing Reins. We thank her for her decision to join our journey, knowing she will continue to bring great improvements to Healing Reins!
On Friday, September 29th, five local students with special needs, ventured out to Blue Moon Stables to participate in a developing Equine Assisted Learning Program offered by Healing Reins. The excitement was felt immediately by participants who enjoyed a break from their typical school environment and experienced the sensory experience of being on a working farm and horse stable. Students were delighted to pet, brush, braid manes, interact and socialize with several ponies. They participated in helping to care for them by measuring and delivering their feed and hay cubes. Other activities involved learning about agriculture through planting clover seeds and then they created book marks with real clover they picked from the fields, decorated and laminated. Teachers, Instructors and Students all enjoyed this positive experience learning in a unique environment!
Healing Reins will continue to develop its Equine Assisted Learning Program and is looking for grants and Sponsorships to fund school and group educational experiences.
They did it again!