Can you believe that we are already cruising through a brand new decade? It’s hard to believe how quickly the time is flying by. In past newsletters, we have featured our students, volunteers, and even the star program horses but have yet to brag about our hardworking team leaders. Paid or not, they pour much of their time and energy into boosting the safe, welcoming environment Kids & Horses is famous for. Let’s take a moment to pull them out from behind the scenes and highlight their part in keeping our team strong.

Our faithful Program Director, Cat, orchestrates both the fine details and the big picture of our non-profit organization. Somehow, she manages to effectively coordinate fundraisers, make plans for future programs, keep everything at the ranch operating smoothly, and travel through the local area spreading the word about Kids & Horses. Needless to say, Cat is always busy, but Kids & Horses truly wouldn’t be the same without her generous and determined spirit.

Alissa’s wealth of knowledge and genuine interest in the health, well-being, and happiness of our herd makes her uniquely suited to be Equine Manager. Alissa ensures that each horse has a manageable lesson load with time to rest and just “be a horse.” She fits tack individually ensuring each horse’s greatest comfort while working.  By responding to subtle behavior changes, she prevents issues from growing and ensures the longevity of our horses in the program. 

Dorothy fills the roles of Event Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Office Manager handling everything from accounting to forms and phone calls. Because Kids & Horses serves nearly 70 clients a week—with each client requiring a team of a horse, instructor/therapist and up to three volunteers—maintaining a clear, updated schedule is paramount. Dorothy puts all these pieces together—weekly—like a living, moving, jigsaw puzzle! Fun Fact: Dorothy has never turned away a student due to volunteer cancellations.

Learning to ride a horse can be difficult, but Ryanna’s creativity as an instructor makes goals attainable and challenges enjoyable for her students. Her job, however, includes much more than teaching riding lessons. In addition to pitching in with horse care and training, she works behind the scenes to keep our program up and running. This includes reaching out through our website, social media pages, mail-outs, and more to keep the community up-to-date on what’s going on at the ranch.   

Facility Manager and Instructor, Vince, makes it a priority to ensure that each of his students stays safe and has fun in every lesson. This proves how much Vince values the smiles on his students’ faces and wants them to succeed in their everyday lives. Not only does Vince spend two days of his week instructing, but he also keeps both our paperwork and facility up to the required standards. This is not a task for the faint-hearted, but Vince attacks it with both patience and precision.

Madison, aka Madi, is the newest member of the team. As a recently certified instructor, she is full of passionate energy for her job. She strives to do her best as she guides her students to achieve their goals, and she has been key in helping bring new students into the program by making calls, sending emails, and scheduling new rider assessments. Madi is also undergoing additional training to improve her skill set and become an influential leader in other areas of our organization.  

It’s been said that neither snow nor rain, heat nor gloom of night can keep the mail carriers from coming through. The same is true of our faithful ranch hands: Ani, Anne, and Paul. Even when the ranch is closed for holidays or due to extremes of weather and temperature, they ensure the horses and property are well cared for. Things we take for granted—from fed and watered horses to the healthy trees lining the driveway—we have this exceptional group of people to thank for.  

Positivity and teamwork are highly valued by our team. Everyone is ready and willing to pitch in wherever it’s needed…even if it includes shoveling manure. We believe in supporting and making a difference in the life of each individual that walks through our doors. I am sure you all would agree that we are so blessed to have this team of passionate individuals on our side. Wishing you all the greatest this 2020!