Bonnie Blue Show

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On May 7, four Hoofbeats riders performed the opening drill and flag ceremony for the Bonnie Blue Horse Show in the Coliseum of the Virginia Horse Center. Rocking out as usual, our little riders executed their routine to some hip tunes, setting the tone for a great event. The Bonnie Blue show team presented a surprise blue ribbon to each Hoofbeats rider for their excellent performance. Thanks drill team!

Admiring her well-earned blue ribbon

Admiring her well-earned blue ribbon

In the Coliseum waiting for riders to mount

In the Coliseum waiting for riders to mount

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Everybody at Hoofbeats is enjoying the successful launch of a new season.

We have some new horsey faces around the barn. Check out the updated “Meet the Horses” page.

— Pictures from this week’s lessons —

Getting her pony ready!

Getting her pony ready!

Lessons

Lessons

Focusing on tacking up.

Focusing on tacking up.

Coming soon:

On May 7, Hoofbeats riders will perform as the opening drill team at the Bonnie Blue Invitational at the Virginia Horse Center.

On May 10, Hoofbeats is hosting Hear the Beats Fundraiser Horse Show. It proves loads of fun every year.

Ham it up guys!

Last Year’s Hear the Beats Show. “Ham it up guys!” Carol says. 

We’re Back!

Hoofbeats is back and getting ready for Spring Lessons.

Hoofbeats is back and getting ready for Spring Lessons.

Never mind the rain!

Never mind the rain!

Happy (almost) spring!

After a long winter, Hoofbeats staff and volunteers are busy preparing for Spring Lessons, scheduled to begin April 1. The barn is full again. The horses finally came back last week and Saturday the 14th was the first day of schooling them. It rained most of the day, churning the ring into a lovely milkshake consistency, but mud did not deter us!

Henry, Harry, Blueberry, Spirit, Hermes, and Commander are back, along with two new horses: Lillie and Grayson. Lillie is a lovely gray Arabian, rescued by Maria and here at Hoofbeats for her 90 day trial as a therapy horse. She is a sweetheart, and we really hope that therapy is the right job fit for her!  Grayson grew up with Commander. We call them brothers. He is a talented 23 year old and knows a lot of fun tricks! If you call, “Grayson!” and hold up your hands like you’re taking a picture, he will “pose” and “smile” for you.

The horses, volunteers, and staff at Hoofbeats are excited about the upcoming spring session. Hopefully see you soon!

http://www.hoof-beats.com

By B. Jinae Kennedy

Hermes

Hermes

One of our young volunteers is excited about helping train horses for April lessons.

One of our young volunteers is excited about helping train horses for April lessons.

Two of our incredible volunteers.

Two of our incredible volunteers.

Kelly, an intern, is training Spirit.

Kelly, an intern, is training Spirit.

Commander and friend.

Commander and friend.

Photo Essay by Colleen Lewis

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A photo essay by Hoofbeats volunteer, Rockbridge County High School freshman Colleen Lewis.

She is well on her way to being a professional – in our opinion.

Whatever your skills are – photography, organization, carpentry, fashion, painting, web design, writing, networking, cooking – there is a place for it at Hoofbeats, where skills and interests are encouraged and developed. Hoofbeats volunteers own the space to expand their creativity, develop ingenuity, and design and launch new ideas. Volunteer today. Apply your skills to change the present and train for success in the future.

By Jinae Kennedy

Volunteer Highlight: Congratulations to Katy Barron

Katy and Sybren

Katy and Sybren

Katie, Sybren and Ashley

Katie, Sybren and Ashley

Katy Barron – a Hoofbeats volunteer since she was just 8-years-old – began a new job this fall in NYC designing clothes for Kohl’s, jumping into a new and exciting phase of life. Throughout her childhood and adulthood, Katy’s experiences at Hoofbeats have shaped the successful woman she is today.

As an “absolutely horse crazy” 8-year-old, Katy first came to Hoofbeats in 1993, where she would spend every weekend for the next almost ten years. “We were given, what I realize only in retrospect, a lot of responsibility,” she said.

“We did just about everything from setting up the ring for lessons, helping with both disabled/ non-disabled riders, taking care of all the horses, cleaning tack, and mucking stalls. We worked hard, got dirty, and sometimes caused a little mischief- I loved every minute of it!” she explained.

Hoofbeats director Carol Branscome said that Katy was an integral part of Hoofbeats in those days. “This was a big part of her growing up,” Carol said.

In high school, Katy stopped riding and could not spend as many weekends at the barn but continued to volunteer sporadically with big events and photography.

After attending Roanoke College for a few years, she dropped out and started thinking about applying to Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD). It was during this rough episode of questioning and high pressure, Carol said, that Katy’s mother encouraged her to return to Hoofbeats.

Using her incredible artistic senses, Katy lent her photography skills to Hoofbeats – and it was her 2008 photograph of Eliza that was selected among thousands as the winner of an EQUUS contest. This picture is internationally recognized and has been used in multiple publications. (Try it! If you “Google” therapeutic horseback riding, it will surface as one of the first listed images.)

With these award-winning photos in her portfolio, Katy applied and was accepted to SCAD, one of the most prestigious design schools in the country.

When she graduated in 2012, she could not find a job right away. “Being an unemployed college graduate is a miserable experience,” she said. “The last two years of my life have been some of the most brutal and emotionally trying.” After seven months in New York City trying to a full-time job without success, she moved back home last April, feeling defeated and broken.

Then, on a whim, Katy visited Hoofbeats and Carol introduced her to a beautiful and gentle horse named Sybren. “After that, I kept coming back,” she said.

Carol said she was so thankful to have Katy back. She told her former student, “Katy, if you will help me this summer, if you will design my costume for my Baroque gala, I will teach you how to ride that horse.”

Katy started training Sybren for the TRAV show in October, partnering with another young woman who had also volunteered at Hoofbeats since childhood. Carol said she saw her two former “littles” helping each other with this horse. Katy schooled Sybren for Ashlyn to ride in the show and Ashlyn groomed Sybren for Katy. The two young women supported each other to overcome so many fears and anxieties, Carol said. When they successfully showed Sybren at TRAV, Carol said with emotion in her voice, “I saw the culmination of 20 years of work.”

Continuing to lend her creative skills to Hoofbeats, Katy re-decorated and organized the center’s interior and designed Carol’s Baroque Gala costume. At the Gala, Carol said the judge showered compliments on the costume and one of her friends used it in a photo-shoot for her professional portfolio.

Using the costume in her own professional portfolio, Katy prepared for her final job interview last summer. The worst thing about job interviews – Carol said that Katy explained to her one day – is that they say Tell me about yourself, and you never know what to say. “Can you tell me about myself?” Carol said Katy then asked her. “I answered, Katy, you’re a rider, you’re an artist, and look at what you’ve done this year,” Carol said.

When Katy sat down for her last job interview, the inevitable prompt came – Tell me about yourself. And she took a deep breath and told them what she had been doing all summer long, Carol said.

Katy is now in New York City, designing clothes for Kohl’s. She is also volunteering at a therapeutic horseback riding center in the city.

Reflecting on her experiences, she said, “Growing up at Hoofbeats I developed a moral compass […] As a kid I witnessed the healing power of a program like Hoofbeats- only now, as an adult, do I truly understand it. The past 7 months at the barn […] have revived my soul!”

 By Jinae Kennedy

Hoofbeats would like to thank Katy for all of her hard work over the years and congratulate her on her new job. We cannot wait to see her back in Lexington for visits!

Invest in a Brighter Future – By Shopping on Amazon!

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“You Shop. Amazon Gives.”

That’s the slogan of the AmazonSmile program. Use the drop-menu to select your favorite charity (Hoofbeats!), and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to your cause. What a fantastic way to invest in a better future — helping people find freedom and healing through horses.

Check out AmazonSmile today at http://smile.amazon.com. When doing your usual shopping (especially buying textbooks, for all you college students!), please consider using AmazonSmile to invest in Hoofbeats.

By Jinae Kennedy