501(c)(3) Feature: The Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

 

 

In 1980, the Fairfax 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program was launched with one borrowed horse and a handful of riders.
 
 
Today, 38 years later, that program has evolved into the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program (NVTRP), with a herd of 15 horses, four full-time and eight part-time staff, and a team of up to 250 weekly volunteers that serve approximately 115 riders each week.

 
With an ever-growing team, the need for organization is paramount—that’s why NVTRP Equine & Facilities Manager Christina Duffy found herself searching online for a horse management tool. In her Googling, she came across BarnManager.
 
 
BarnManager seemed to best fit our program needs and was the most user-friendly option,” explained Duffy. “BarnManager has helped to keep all of our files in one place and helped keep track of any events or illnesses that arise with a specific horse; it is much easier to remember to type something up then write it down! It has also made information about our horses more accessible to instructors and staff.”
 
 
This streamlined organization makes it easier for NVTRP to continue to focus on fulfilling its mission of providing equine-assisted therapeutic services to children and adults with disabilities, youth-at-risk, military service personnel, and their families in an inclusive, community-based setting.
 
 
NVTRP’s number one goal is to use equestrian-based services to provide a range of physical, social, and emotional benefits, and to help riders attain the healthiest, most independent lives possible.
 
 
Today, in order to meet the growing demand for NVTRP’s services, the organization has begun construction and a capital improvement project. Part of the project includes a new, larger, lighted outdoor riding ring, an accessible playground, and improved parking and access. To learn more about NVTRP and to get involved in the capital campaign, visit http://nvtrp.org/capital-campaign.

BarnManager is designed to be a part of your team, with the compatibility and credentials necessary to improve communication, simplify the management of horses, and get you out of the office, off the phone calls, and into the barn with the horses you care about! Click here to get a free demo and find out more!

501(c)(3) Feature: The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

In the mid-1980s, one Alabama girl, Marianna Greene Henry, begged her parents to start a therapeutic riding program on their farm near the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) in Talladega, AL.

Henry had been volunteering with a therapeutic riding program in Birmingham, AL, and she was amazed at the positive impact that the horses had on the children with disabilities. Knowing that just down the road from her family’s farm, the AIDB was helping so many similar children, Henry thought it would be the perfect fit and could make an incredible difference for those children. 

Sadly, in 1989, Henry was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a heart disease that only a heart transplant could cure – and she died that March as surgeons tried to implant an artificial heart and before her therapeutic riding program dream could come to fruition.

Soon after their daughter’s death, Pat and Marilyn Greene founded the Marianna Greene Henry Special Equestrians program (MGH) as part of The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind in memory of their daughter.

“We just looked at each other,” recalls Marilyn Greene, “and said, ‘She really wanted this.’”

The Greenes started modestly with a few horses and a ring in their side yard. However, within months the program had blossomed into something greater than they ever imagined.

Today, the program at their farm is housed inside a 39,000-square foot arena and serves 350 to 400 children per year, making it the largest program in the country serving deaf, blind, and multi-disabled riders.

MGH’s mission is to maximize the potential and well-being for the students by providing equine-facilitated activities in the areas of therapy, sport, and recreation to enhance physical and mental skills, aid in mobilization, and promote socialization and communication. To fulfill that mission, MGH offers therapeutic riding, hippotherapy (physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement), equine-facilitated mental health, equine-facilitated psychotherapy, equine-facilitated learning, and a work experience program.

In the last fiscal year alone, MGH provided more than 3,000 rides to students at AIDB.

With so many rides and generally around a dozen horses in the barn, MGH now utilizes BarnManager to stay organized.

“It’s an awesome program,” said MGH barn manager, Callie Smelley. “It makes filing paperwork quick and easy. It allows you to have all your information in one place, and it’s easily accessible by all MGH employees. Personal profiles for each horse allow you to pinpoint what each horse requires, and we can also share with veterinarians and farriers to keep up with equine maintenance.”

Keeping the horses well cared-for allows for the magic that exists between a horse and rider with sensory or physical disabilities that transcends all language and physical barriers – something that is so evident at MGH.

Presently, Marianna Greene’s younger brother, Tim Greene, serves as the program administrator and Pat Greene sits as the president of the MGH Foundation. Marilyn and Pat Greene continue to volunteer at MGH every Tuesday, where they’ve seen first-hand the miraculous transformation of many of the students and the joy and self-esteem that the riders gain.

“It wasn’t until I started working with these children that I saw what Marianna saw,” said Marilyn Greene. “It saved our lives.”

Click here to learn more about MGH and to find out how you can help make a difference!

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

501(c)(3) Feature: Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

Aiken, South Carolina is one of the foremost equestrian communities in the Southeast. However, in Aiken County and the surrounding areas, the number of individuals living with significant life challenges and disabilities is also higher than the national average.

Given these two factors, it seems only fitting that Aiken would be home to one of the leading therapeutic riding centers in the region, the Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center, designed to promote certified therapeutic riding for children and adults with physical, emotional, and psychological challenges.

Formerly known as STAR Riding, Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center began expanding two years ago when the board courageously purchased a 20-acre farm and began a $1.5 million campaign to construct a state-of-the-art, fully handicapped-accessible facility to provide therapeutic riding.

“It brings an incredible amount of joy to the board and instructors to have this available in such an equestrian community like Aiken,” said the program and volunteer coordinator, Nicole Pioli.

According to Pioli, the number of individuals in the area with life challenges is significant due to lower per-capita income, less available healthcare, and the presence of two military installations in the region. It’s the mission of Great Oak to provide equine- assisted activities that promote improved physical, emotional, and psychological health for anyone affected by these challenges.

Pioli came across a BarnManager advertisement on Facebook and immediately recognized how beneficial the software could be in helping the organization fulfill its mission.

“As an organization, we are supported by many volunteers, and it is critical for us to be in communication at all times about our horses’ needs and routines,” said Pioli. “We’re a non-profit, so it is critical that we are making sure we are managing our funds. I use the whiteboard in the BarnManager app to document every feed and hay delivery in order to show that we are being efficient in our feed practices. The calendar feature is great because it allows our instructors to communicate about which horses have been exercised and to document what areas our horses need improvement in. They have a very important job, and we are working with very fragile individuals, so we need to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop about changes in their routine.

“Working in a non-profit means that we wear a lot of hats and knowing that all of our horse documents are in one place helps,” concluded Pioli.

Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center strives to make services available to all participants for whom registration is accepted but cannot afford full tuition. Great Oak fulfills this mission through the generosity of supporters, and it’s through that generosity that Great Oak can provide access to transformation healing by developing a community of acceptance and empowerment through therapeutic riding. To learn more about Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center, visit www.greatoakatrc.org/programs.

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

501(c)(3) Feature: L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

In the spring of 2009, South Carolina Animal Control executed the second largest animal seizure in the history of the state, removing 47 horses from a local farm following continued complaints to the authorities of the horses’ abuse and neglect. Recognizing the dire need for homes for these horses – many of which were in extremely poor physical condition – one South Carolina resident, Elizabeth Steed, took on the care and rescue of 33 of them.

It was from that event and out of crisis and necessity that the Livestock & Equine Awareness & Rescue Network (L.E.A.R.N.) Horse Rescue was born. Steed had spent 20 years prior to the 2009 rescue involved in private horse rescue in the Charleston, SC, area, and she had served as Charleston County’s large animal consultant for 10 years. When the state seized the 47 horses in 2009, Steed immediately recognized that there was a need for an officially designated equine rescue organization in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and so began L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue.

Since its founding nine years ago, L.E.A.R.N. has successfully rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed more than 300 previously abused horses, with a specialization in rehabilitating severely starved horses. The organization is run entirely by volunteers, with no paid staff positions. Instead, a dedicated group of approximately 25 volunteers take turns signing up for morning and afternoon feeding shifts and care. With many volunteers and so many horses to keep organized, L.E.A.R.N. volunteer coordinator Jane Higdon was looking for a way to coordinate everything and “to work smarter, not harder,” when she came across BarnManager.

“I searched online for a program like I have used when working at vet’s offices, where we could keep all of the information on our horses in one spot,” said Higdon. “[BarnManager] helps tremendously since we are often standing in the middle of a pasture when we need to update information.” Today, L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue utilizes BarnManager to update horses’ records from anywhere, reduce the amount of paperwork that they have to go through when needing to find information quickly, and to smoothly and easily print out a horse’s records for its new owners once the horse is adopted – one of the ultimate goals of the rescue. In addition to re-homing the rehabilitated horses, L.E.A.R.N. aims to reduce or eliminate the vast numbers of abused and neglected horses throughout South Carolina through education and awareness.

“We always say we are working hard to be unnecessary,” said Higdon. “We have rehabilitated starved horses for many years and want to do everything we can so that we don’t have to do this heartbreaking work anymore. One of the main reasons horses in South Carolina (and other states) often get to this point is that most animal control agencies don’t have a facility to hold large animals, so owners are given many warnings, but horses aren’t seized when they probably should be. “We are working with other organizations and individuals to try to improve the animal cruelty laws for equines in South Carolina,” continued Higdon. “We are also working with animal control agencies and other rescue groups, veterinarians, and people willing to foster to create a network that animal control can contact when they need to seize horses.”

To learn more about L.E.A.R.N. Horse Rescue, please visit www.learnhorserescue.org.

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

Second Chance Thoroughbred - user of BarnManager for barn management software and equine management software

501(c)(3) Feature: Second Chance Thoroughbreds

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

Everyone deserves a second chance, or, at Second Chance Thoroughbreds, at least every retired Thoroughbred race horse.

Collette Duddy started the registered 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2012 after she had made her first trip to the backside of the Finger Lakes Race Track in Farmington, NY, in September of 2011. There, Duddy was struck by the quality of the horses – even those who may not have been successful on the track – as well as by the lack of post-racing options in the area

Today, Second Chance Thoroughbreds’ board of directors includesDuddy and fellow lifelong horsewomen and volunteers, Karen Faillace and Robyn Hancock-Null. The organization is dedicated to providing OTTBs with a soft landing after the end of their racing careers, giving them ample down time and retraining before transitioning the horses to a new career.area for those horses. Soon after Duddy’s initial visit, six off-the-track Thoroughbreds (OTTBs) traveled to the Duddy’s farm in Spencer, NY, to be re-trained and re-homed.

One of 64 organizations nationwide accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Second Chance Thoroughbreds also works to educate and demonstrate to the public how versatile and trainable Thoroughbreds are by offering clinics and participating in shows, parades, and community events. The organization is also unique in offering riding lessons and a summer horsemanship program using some of the OTTBs.

“OTTBs receive a lot of training while they are on the track, both under saddle and on the ground,” said Duddy. “Most Thoroughbreds are very good at loading, tying, and standing for the farrier and vet, and they are easily transitioned into a new career.”

With many horses coming into the program or leaving to be adopted and re-homed at any given time, BarnManager has been a welcome addition to the non-profit in helping them keep track of each horse’s paperwork and schedule. BarnManager’s cloud-based software allows the staff of Second Chance Thoroughbreds to input information and seamlessly communicate about the details of each horse’s care.

BarnManager helps keep us organized,” explained Duddy. “It’s very helpful to be able to store Coggins and other health papers in one site. When a horse is adopted, it’s easy to print out all of the info to send with the new owner, including the dates of the last farrier visit, worming, and vet exams, etc.”

To learn more about Second Chance Thoroughbreds, visit www.SecondChanceThoroughbreds.org.

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

501(c)(3) Feature: The North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

In 1977, the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center (NCTRC) was founded by Lou Paules, Debby Lominac, 

and Dot Kohlbach, who was inspired to start the program after moving from her native Scotland to North Carolina, where she was unable to find a therapeutic riding program to continue the volunteer work that she loved. 

Now, more than 40 years later, not only is the NCTRC program still going strong as the oldest therapeutic riding program in North Carolina, Kohlbach is still involved with the program and with special events, and she and the NCTRC have served thousands of children and adults with disabilities!

For the first 30 years of its history, the NCTRC was a small, all volunteer run organization. Then in 2008, thanks to the generosity of Matt and Suzanne Case, the program moved from Durham, NC, to the Case’s Clearwind Farm in Mebane, NC. There, the NCTRC has grown into a highly comprehensive therapeutic center, accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International) and offering year-round, full-time programming.

The NCTRC aims to empower children and adults with physical, mental, emotional, and social challenges to create more active, healthy, and fulfilling lives through equine assisted activities and therapies. Some of the challenges faced by the NCTRC’s participants include autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, behavioral issues, brain injuries, and other learning disabilities and developmental delays. Over the last decade, the NCTRC has also added veterans’ programming, equine-assisted psychotherapy, and inclusive summer camps.

With many offerings and so many participants, and similarly so many horses now involved in the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center, the staff was searching for a solution to manage all of the horses’ records when they came across BarnManager.

We were searching online for an affordable software system to manage our herd’s records,” said executive director Lara Katz. “Most of what we found was way out of our budget, particularly because we needed multiple users. Multiple staff members are involved in the care of our horses, and we wanted to have a way to update horse owners who have generously loaned their horses to us. Finding out that it was free to nonprofits was fantastic and a huge benefit to our growing organization!

Katz and the team at the NCTRC now regularly utilize BarnManager to quickly and easily access the horses’ records on their phones.

 Before, we used to carry paper files out to the barn for vet visits, and this has made things so much simpler,” said Katz. “We are excited about adding our horse owners as users so they can see updates on their horse’s health any time they would like!”

For those local to North Carolina, the NCTRC is always in need of experienced horse people to volunteer! Learn more by visiting www.nctrcriders.org. For those not local, Katz encourages others to check out therapeutic riding centers in their area:

“It’s the most fun you will ever have volunteering! It’s incredible to see the changes that horses bring to clients’ lives.”

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

 

501(c)(3) Feature: Hickory Hill Farm

Through our ‘Free for 501(c)3’ program, our team at BarnManager has had the opportunity to learn more about incredible equestrian non-profit organizations from across the country. Each month, we’ll be featuring one such organization here on our blog!

In 2016, two Tennessee horsewomen, Shea Hutsenpiler and Jenna Gibbons, felt called to do something to serve both the animals and the people in their community, but neither of them knew what – nor did they know each other. However, when mutual friend Jennifer Clymer heard both of their dreams of bringing people and children together to experience farm and horse life and of rescuing horses, she quickly connected the two women, and not long after Hickory Hill Farm was born.

Today, the organization’s mission is to provide a retreat where people, animals, and children alike can find peace, happiness, and healing through the farm’s three basic functions, reflected in the organization’s motto: “Rescue, Play, Heal.”

The rescue division of Hickory Hill Farm exists to rescue, rehabilitate, retrain if needed, and rehome each equine or livestock animal that comes through their barn doors. The play component of Hickory Hill Farm involves the fun activities that happen there, including kids’ camps and public events and activities. The final important aspect of Hickory Hill Farm is its’ ability to provide healing. The farms are a peaceful ‘retreat’ for people and animals alike. Everyone is welcome, regardless of race, religion, or past hardships, and the organization strives to have events that will accommodate specific needs as they arise.

“We feel that serving people and farm animals under one mission makes our organization unique,” said Hutsenpiller, Hickory Hill Farm’s rescue director. “The animals that enter HHF get to interact with the people we serve while they themselves are healing.”

With many horses involved in their efforts, the use of BarnManager through the Free for 501(c)3 program was something too good to pass up for Hutsenpiller.

It is a very needed program, and we are extremely grateful for the savings,” said Hutsenpiller. “It is helping us keep our vet records and appointments in one place. I really like that you can set it to automatically send a reminder email when new vet work or farrier work is due.” 

To learn more about Hickory Hill Farm, please visit www.hickoryhillfarmtn.org.

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

 

501(c)(3) Feature: A HEART for Equine Aid

A HEART for Equine Aid

If you travel the hunter/jumper horse show circuit – like many of our BarnManager users do – you may have noticed an eye-catching red and orange horse trailer situated somewhere not far from the main ring. That specially outfitted horse trailer belongs to the Humane Equine Aid and Rapid Transport (HEART) equine ambulance service.

Initially founded in conjunction with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, HEART was created to provide emergency transportation services for injured or ill horses, and today, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization is an important part of horse shows up and down the East Coast, including many frequented by BarnManager users, such as the Old Salem Horse Shows, the Kentucky Horse Shows, the Devon Horse Show, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, Capital Challenge, the Washington International Horse Show, and numerous others.

The BarnManager team had the privilege of catching up with HEART employee Erick Nagy at a recent horse show, and Nagy gave great insight into how HEART works, how and why you can support the non-profit, and how having BarnManager as a tool could be extremely helpful should you ever need to utilize HEART or a similar service!

How HEART Helps

Each year, HEART is hired by more than 40 horse shows throughout the country to be on site and ready to properly transport horses in the case of an emergency illness or injury. In the case of an injury where the horse is unable to stand, HEART’s highly-trained staff is able to utilize a specially-designed sled to load the horse into the customized HEART trailer that then allows the attending veterinarian ample room to consider treatment options.  

“Everyone that works for HEART has taken a technical large animal rescue class,” explained Nagy, who has worked within the equine industry for more than three decades and is now one of HEART’s regular part-time employees. “We learn to properly put them on the sled, to safely hobble them, to safely transport them when they’re down – everything for their own safety and well-being.”

Nagy was also quick to point out that when at a horse show, the HEART ambulance and staff are not only available during the competition hours, but rather are on call 24/7 and readily able to assist in the case of colics or other after hours emergencies – a valuable resource that has proved vital in several unfortunate situations.

 

How BarnManager Can Help

In the case of an emergency situation, the HEART staff member or members assisting the horse will require the horse’s basic information. Additionally, should the horse be transported with the HEART team and without an accompanying owner, rider, or trainer, as is often the case, the HEART staff will need further additional information on the horse upon arrival to the veterinary hospital or clinic.

That’s where BarnManager is able to provide a resource that simplifies the process amidst a stressful situation! With all of the horse’s information stored within the BarnManager application, the user can quickly pull up the records and show or send them to the HEART driver, saving valuable time in an emergency.  

How You Can Help HEART

And while BarnManager can help those who must use HEART’s services, there is more that can be done to help HEART.

Horse shows pay HEART for the onsite services that they provide, but, as a 501(c)3 organization, HEART is not able to make a profit. Instead, the funds received from horse show’s simply cover the HEART ambulances operating costs – not additional equipment, upgrades, or education.

“We’re trying to get the funding together to buy a third rig,” said Nagy. “Buying a truck and trailer is not cheap at all, and by the time we get done with all of the specializations and the equipment that we need inside, it’s even more costly.”

HEART is also developing a program to educate the general equestrian public on thecare of competition-level horses with presentations on topics such as “What to do Until the Vet Arrives” and “A Complete First Aid Kit For Your Trailer.” 

To learn more about HEART and how you can make a tax deductible donation, visit   www.equineambulance.com/donate.html  

To signup for a Free Trial of BarnManager click here, and to learn more about out Free for 501(c)(3) program click here!

501(c)(3) Feature: Heart of Phoenix

One of the greatest parts of our work with BarnManager is getting to know and learn from incredible horsemen and women across the globe. Everyone has a unique and powerful story of what horses mean to them and why they continue to dedicate themselves to the equines in their life.

One such story comes to us from Tinia Creamer of Heart of Phoenix, an equine rescue facility in West Virginia. In 2010, Tinia and her family came across one of the most horrific examples of abuse and neglect they have ever seen. This is the day that changed everything for the Creamers.

A mare was found tied to a tree with no shelter from the sun or any inclement weather. Her hooves were overgrown and curled up to her fetlocks, and her face and ankles were covered in lacerations. Prior to being tied to a tree, she had been confined to a stall for 5 years with little to no time outside. Her skeletal frame suggested years of starvation, malnutrition, and dehydration.

This unimaginable cruelty left the mare with very little chances of survival. But Tinia and her team worked feverishly to give her the best chance to heal and recover. They fought for her with hopes of giving her a future until it became clear that letting her go was the kindest and most humane thing that they could do.

Tinia gave the mare a name, Phoenix. The phoenix in Greek mythology carries a lot of meaning. The death of a phoenix is not the end of its life. A phoenix is cyclically regenerated or reborn from the ashes of its predecessor. With a heavy heart, Tinia said goodbye to Phoenix, but their short time together would not end in vain.

Born from the loss of the mare they could not save, the Creamer’s created an equine rescue, Heart of Phoenix, that has grown into an organization comprised of volunteers, offices and board members spread across 4 states. This team works tirelessly to rescue as many horses as possible from dire circumstances. Their mission is to save, rehabilitate and place as many horses as possible in adoptive homes, and they have successfully done so for hundreds of horses.

Heart of Phoenix specializes in horses that are seized by Animal Control and who often require substantial medical care and groundwork to regain their health, well-being, and trust. Once a horse is healthy and happy, they seek to match each and every horse with the best home. The organization works to thoroughly screen all applicants for adoption and to ensure that each horse is given a fresh start with an owner who can properly care for them.

BarnManager is incredibly proud to have Heart of Phoenix as part of our Free for 501(c)(3) program. We are thrilled that we are able to offer tools to aid in their mission to provide exemplary care and management of their horses. And we look forward to supporting them for years to come.

For more information about Heart of Phoenix, visit their website: http://www.wvhorserescue.org