Loss of a Dear Friend

This is a tribute and a farewell to one of our dear friends, Cathy Simmons, who passed away last week. After she was diagnosed with brain cancer, Cathy came to Hoofbeats to check “ride a horse” off her bucket list. But as they usually do, the horses found a permanent place in her heart. Cathy loved riding and she stayed with the Hoofbeats program for a year. She often brought her grandchildren with her as her grooms. Cathy committed to losing weight last year in order to ride more, and her friends at TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) sent a donation in her name.  Hoofbeats was a very special place for Cathy and she holds a dear spot in all of our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. 

Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center

Cathy with her favorite horse Sam, with a ribbon that she won at last year's TRAV show.

Cathy with her favorite horse Sam, with a ribbon that she won at last year’s TRAV show.

Special Olympics


Thank you to all of our riders, horses, volunteers, family and friends who made this year’s Special Olympics a true success.

Last Saturday, the riders competed at the Hoofbeats Center rather than at the Va. Horse Center Complex, as in years past. The athletes came from all over Rockbridge County, southern Virginia, and even West Virginia.

Despite 90-degree weather, the riders breezed through their equitation, dressage, trail, and musical classes, laughing and encouraging one another.

This year, the show was held in the summer session and not in conjunction with VMI, which usually sends cadet volunteers in uniform. But three VMI students in Lexington taking summer classes still came out to volunteer and spend time with our riders.

After a successful show, the riders and families crowded into the Center’s living room to celebrate with an awards ceremony, ice cream social, and impromptu dance party.

Congratulations to all our champions!

By B. Jinae Kennedy

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Justin Time Paints with a Purpose

A very special art exhibition will be on display at the Rockbridge Regional Library for the month of June. The artist, Justin Time, is a 20-year-old Arabian horse who paints with a brush held in his teeth. The canvases in the library are for sale and all proceeds from his work will go to Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center. 
Justin’s story of rescue and rehabilitation is a familiar one at Hoofbeats.  In March of 2011, Brook Hill Horse Rescue and Montgomery County Animal Control responded to a repeated report of animal abuse. They rescued a 16-year-old Arabian gelding suffering from starvation and accelerated skin rot.
Just a few months later, this horse found a new name and a forever home in Lexington. He was adopted by an extraordinarily loving family and transformed into a healthy riding horse and an award-winning painter. After his rescue and rehabilitation, he now spends comfortable days grazing, giving rides across the countryside, and painting for a good cause.
 Justin Time’s mission is to help people with special needs – whether physical, emotional, or mental – find healing by riding very special horses. All proceeds from his paintings benefit this mission. His work will be displayed for sale in the Rockbridge Regional Library for the whole month of June. For more information please contact Hoofbeats Volunteer Jennifer Humphrey at jenniferwhumphrey@gmail.com or by phone at 540-817-1893.
By Jinae Kennedy 

Bonnie Blue Show


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!



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.