Baroque Show

Hoofbeats is a community that seeks the well-being of the entire individual — mentally, physically, and emotionally — explained the announcer to a waiting audience at the Baroque Horse Show on Saturday. To open the show, we have a special treat: the Hoofbeats drill team! The double curtains at the end of the ring parted, through which a proud parade of children, adults, and ponies filed. They lined up on the ring master and and snapped a smart salute.  Music floated across the arena and the team flowed into an elegantly choreographed pattern of circles and serpentines. As the riders exited to the audience’s pantomimed clapping (as not to spook the horses), their smiles shone and their hands fluttered through the air as they waved like royalty.

After the opening drill, the fairy tale show began, featuring beloved characters such as Snow White, Prince Charming, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and even Yoda and Chewbaca. One of the Hoofbeats riders was not finished playing his part in the show. After riding in the drill, Joseph had to grab his sword and change into the gold laced furs of his Prince Charming costume. Escorted by the Ferries of Merriment, he re-entered the ring with Snow White to dance his part. After this scene, Joseph also had the honor of picking the raffle tickets out of a hat for the winner of the prize Andalusian filly. “I’m so excited, it’s unbelievable,” Joseph said after dancing his part as Prince Charming. He looked every bit like royalty.

“I can’t imagine life without Hoofbeats,” said his mother, Lessley.

The 2015 Baroque horse show is a fundraiser for Hoofbeats.  Thank you to all who participated and contributed!

Waiting for the opening drill to begin.

Waiting for the opening drill to begin.

Joseph as Prince Charming

Joseph as Prince Charming

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

IMG_5975IMG_5982                IMG_5987IMG_5976

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 or by phone at 540-817-1893.
By Jinae Kennedy