As we head into the New Year, we want to kick it off right and what’s better than a 2020 Capital Campaign to raise the funds we need to cover our expenses for the entire year and then some, because…horses. They have a way of breaking things, breaking themselves and they eat…a lot.

However, in addition to taking care of the horses, we need these funds to keep the lights on and the water flowing. Specifically and for transparency, your donations go to:

  • Feed – We feed Bluebonnet Equilene Complete. It is not terribly expensive (about $15 per bag) compared to some of the feed on the market today, but it is a complete feed, which is ideal for our horses since they are older and need all the easily digestible forage they can get.
  • Hay – Each pasture of horses goes through about 1 round bale per month in the winter. It fluctuates a bit if it gets really cold and they really need to burn that hay. We only feed hay in the winter as we have great pasture in the summer. Round bales are $50 each and my friendly hay man gives me free delivery.
  • Water – Obviously a must-have for survival!
  • Electric – Not a super high bill, but it’s nice to be able to see in the dark because it’s really dark out here! It’s also nice that we have lights on our outdoor arena, allowing us to accommodate the schedule of our students, many of whom go to public school and their parents work out of town and are single parents.
  • Diesel and maintenance of the tractor – The tractor is a must-have from putting out hay bales to dragging the arena.
  • Farrier – We use the best farrier around! His rates are very reasonable but more importantly, he’s like clockwork. Showing up every 6 weeks to trim and keep our horse’s feet happy and healthy. You’ve heard the saying – “No hoof, no horse.” Trims average $35 to $40 per horse depending on how many we have at the time.
  • Rent – We do have to pay the mortgage to keep this operation running!
  • Extras – When it turns cold or hot, we need a few extra items like blankets, fly sheets, fly spray, lead ropes (where do they all go?), treats, and the occasional repairs to water lines when they break or leak or other stuff that breaks.
  • Tack – We try to not have to buy tack, but sometimes we get kids that are really small and I like for them to be able to reach the stirrups. Or we need training reins to help teach them. And halters have a way of disappearing.

Our horses are out 24/7 so we don’t really use much in terms of shavings, although we do need them occasionally. The only time they are stalled is during lessons and if the weather is REALLY bad. It has to be pretty bad simply because they are crazy bundles of energy the next day and it makes barn chores take twice as long.

At this stage, we are entirely a volunteer ran operation. I devote seven hours a week to just riding lessons plus maintaining the barn and horses. Due to our increase in demand, we are bringing on an assistant instructor a well. We do not make a salary, although it would be nice if we could. All board members are volunteer and not compensated in any way.

Plus, not only will we continue having one working student, we are bringing along a new Fundraising Intern student who will help us reach out to local businesses to garner support. This new position is a great opportunity for this student to learn the ins and outs of marketing as well as working in the nonprofit sector.

It will also help us complete a great new adventure, which is becoming Horse Boy Method Certified!

What is The Horse Boy Method?

The Horse Boy Method was created by Rupert Isaacson. There’s a book and a movie about their quest for knowledge and healing. When his son was nearly 3, they determined that Rowan was on the autism spectrum. Through the guidance of his own child and famous autists like Dr. Temple Grandin, Rupert created the Horse Boy Method. This method is the complete opposite of many autism programs like ABA, because that simply didn’t work for Rowen.

We have several families in the East Texas area with children on the spectrum and are currently working with three autistic brothers. However, this method doesn’t just help children on the spectrum but any child or adult with some sort of neurological condition such as:

  • ADD
  • ADHD,
  • PTSD
  • Other learning disabilities.

This program works because nature and riding horses activate the production of oxytocin, which stops cortisol, the stress hormone. Children with autism overproduce cortisol. The production of oxytocin – a “feel good” hormone – eliminates the stress and turns on the learning receptors in the brain. Thus, children, whether autistic or not, are able to learn and retain information better while riding horses. Movement is also key and can be utilized in much the same way. The science of it all is quite amazing and I’ll be writing more about it in the future.

Big Goals!

We have big goals for this year. I would love to be able to work with 100 children whether they are from our area or families that we invite to our new “Special Needs Family Vacations.” These vacations will provide families with the opportunity to stay in a cabin, courtesy of Stable View Cottages, as well as provide 4 hours of horseback riding, and a dinner out. Families will also be able to enjoy the beauty of Lake Fork, just three minutes away.

Will you be a part of our success in meeting our 2020 Capital Campaign goal?

Download our Sponsorship Package here to learn more about sponsorship opportunities or donate online here.

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