I discovered this story in I Is Roxie, a fantastically fun and informative blog by a purty PMU mare by the same name. Roxy is smart and funny. Visit her blog and let her know how beautiful she is. I know her preening self will appreciate the praise.
Roxy’s first human Kerrie Regimbal of Idaho, has a charitable outreach program to pair neglected and abused horses with “kids in need of self-esteem by having them groom, clean and tend to the animals.”
You can find the whole newspaper article here.
“It’s for kids who have been neglected or abused, or kids with no problems whatsoever,” Regimbal said about her program, Kidz N Horses. “Any child is welcome.” Much of her inspiration came from attending clinics at the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, Ore. That’s when Bob, her husband of eight years, began sharing her interest in starting a similar program. The secret to rehabilitating horses is listening to them, the Regimbals said. They watch the horses’ ears, hooves and head for indications of their moods. They never use harsh, painful discipline to make the horses obey. Instead, they take their time getting to know the animals, proving to them that humans can be trusted.
The Regimbals share these techniques with children who, in addition to learning safety, spend time petting the horses, cleaning their stalls and taking them for walks.
“Children have a sense of responsibility, ownership, belonging and pride in what they’re doing,” Kerrie said.
Programs like this have always been of interest to me. Since returning to horses in 1996 at The Handicapped High Riders Club in Allentown, N.J. at Riding High Farm, I’ve been on the lookout for programs to support. It’s so simple. At the Riding High website, clicking on the WISHLIST link will show a list of items needed to maintain the horses and the facility, thereby continuing to provide service to handicapped children and local adults through Project Freedom. The list of items they need contains things you might have lying around your barn. They need them desperately. It’s so easy to pop them in the mail, or call an equine supply catalog and have them sent. Because Handicapped High Riders is a non-profit 501 3 (c), you get a tax deduction.
Another such program is Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. I first learned about this ranch when I read Kim Meeder’s book, Hope Rising. I’m not normally into the tear-jerking, horses-cure-people type of book, but this one is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn more about what horses really do for people in need. The ranch itself is an inspiring place. Their programs are broad-based and cover a lot of needs. They accept volunteers. I think it would be a great way to spend an extended vacation.
Owning horses is more than a full-time commitment. It sometimes takes more than we have to give to maintain our own horses combined with our daily commitments like jobs and family. But we are so lucky, and most of us know it. What we often don’t realize is how easy it is to reach out and assist the people who give their entire lives to horses and to those in need. In most cases. it’s a click away.
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