Dear Hoofbeats Family,
We are looking forward to seeing all of your smiling faces in our upcoming Spring Session at our “new” facility located at 662 Mt. Atlas Road in Lexington. We want to encourage all of our students to get their paperwork in and secure their spot as soon as possible. You can find forms on our website at www.hoof-beats.com/forms.
As we all know, there has been a lot of talk about COVID-19 in the news lately and I want to reassure everyone that we are taking all necessary steps to maintain a healthy environment. On Monday, March 23, 2020, the Governor of Virginia announced an executive order that will close down all non-essential businesses for 30 days. During this time of year, our center is already closed due to being the off-season. However, in light of this order, we will be postponing our open house that was scheduled for April 11, 2020. We will announce a new date in the future. In the meantime, we are planning a virtual tour of our “new” facilities as we are excited to show you these facilities. In addition to our virtual barn tour, we are planning several other videos to keep you all engaged.
Our Spring Session was scheduled to begin on April 21, however, the earliest we will be able to start due to the Governor’s order is April 24th. As of right now, that is what we are planning to do and we are working on an adjusted schedule to be released soon. Please follow us on Facebook and keep an eye on our website for updated information.
We love and miss you all and hope to see you soon.
With Warm Regards and Hugs,
Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center
Blueberry’s Gift is based on a true story of Blueberry, one of Hoofbeats’s past therapy horse. It is written by Hoofbeats Board of Directors member Tenney Mudge, Illustrated by Erika Cummings, and published by Mariner Media of Buena Vista, Virginia. A portion of the books sales will benefit Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center.
Did someone say merch?! We are kicking off our Giving Tuesday 2019 event a bit early, but the weather outside is getting frightful! We are offering unisex t-shirts and hoodies in a variety of colors!
The entire community of Hoofbeats is deeply saddened to share that we have lost a hero and a champion.
Blueberry was peacefully laid to rest on August 19, 2018 at the home of Tenney and Alan where Blueberry had grown and where he had been retired and having fun for 2 great years. Blueberry had served as therapeutic mount for Hoofbeats for over 11 years providing thousands of lessons and thousands of smiles.
We thank you for cheering Blueberry on to greatness as he helped makethe world a better place.We thank you for celebrating his beautiful life and all that he gave to this world.
Nancy Bidlack is a member of the Hoofbeats Advisory Board. She recently was named an EQUUS Foundation Champion and received a pair of Ariat Boots from Ariat International. You can read her story from the EQUUS Foundation newsletter below.
Nancy Bidlack remembers how she felt when Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center opened in 1994. “It was great news! My husband, Rich, and I were so happy to find a place where our disabled son, David, could get exercise, make friends – including shaggy ones – and have tons of fun. Hoofbeats was a godsend.”
Hoofbeats, now located on the Virginia Horse Center grounds, serves riders with a diverse range of physical, mental, and emotional needs “There is something incredibly special and empowering about earning the respect of an animal that weighs over ten times more than you, said Carol Branscome, Hoofbeats’ Director.
Over time, volunteering became a family affair. Nancy started out by writing press releases, then took on grant writing. Rich served on the board of directors, and son Christopher worked on Hoofbeats’ sensory trail for his Eagle Scout project.
“Hoofbeats was the answer to a prayer for our family,” said Nancy. “I volunteer because I know first-hand the joy Hoofbeats brings to disabled children and adults – and their families.”
“Okay, let’s see, I need to groom Harry and Blueberry, put out the western saddle and blue-green reins for Blueberry, and the Passier saddle with child’s stirrups and rainbow reins for Spirit, and….and I am to lead Blueberry for his first rider…got it.” So might begin a morning for me as a Hoofbeats volunteer. Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center, located on the grounds of the Virginia Horse Center here in Lexington, provides recreational therapeutic horseback riding for people of all ages with physical or mental disabilities. Most of my involvement happens during the lessons in the riding ring, where I serve either as a “horse leader” (one who leads the horse for a rider incapable of controlling the horse unassisted), or as a “sidewalker” (one who walks at the horse’s side to assist the rider in carrying out the instructor’s directions; sidewalkers may also provide added security by bracing a rider’s leg.) For capable riders who have mastered the basic skills sufficiently to ride independently, I might still be needed in the ring, but as a “spotter”, readily at hand, but prepared to interfere only in an emergency.
Please help one of our favorite therapy horses stay on his feet! Meet Blueberry. He is a therapy horse like no other. In fact, search for “Therapeutic Riding” and you’re bound to see this 14.3 hand Appaloosa gelding’s picture on the first page! Blueberry works at Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center in Lexington, Virginia, where his calm strength and playful personality charm everyone who meets him. He seems to have magical powers when it comes to helping his riders, and specializes in riders with ADHD and anger issues. He is also the instructors’ “go to” horse for a beginner’s first lesson, as he is so adept at helping timid students overcome their anxieties. He regularly takes his riders to the Equestrian Special Olympics, and is always game for whatever his riders and handlers throw at him. (Just for fun, here’s a video of Blueberry participating in a spooky musical number at the 2015 Virginia Therapeutic Horse Show!)
Recently, however, Blueberry was diagnosed with fast-growing tumors in the tissue of both front feet. While Blueberry’s incredible strength of will and personality have so far kept him on his feet despite the painful condition, he risks lameness or worse without immediate treatment. Due to the invasive nature and location of the growths, he will require specialist treatment and surgery under anesthesia, which is incredibly costly. Current estimates are that the surgery will cost 4-5 thousand dollars, and require months of aftercare and rehabilitation.
As Hoofbeats is a small non-profit with a very limited veterinary budget, we can’t make this work without help from our community–but for everyone who knows Blueberry, we know that we have to do everything we can give this miraculous horse a fighting chance, so he can keep working his magic with his riders, and bringing joy into every space he enters. Follow the YouCaring website for updates!
Hello all! Happy New Year! Hoofbeats is excited to kick off a new year and new opportunities. Here is a tentative (mind you, we said tentative) road map of the upcoming seasons.
Jan. 23 Rockbridge Hunt Pony Club Horse Management Clinic
Feb. 9 Board Meeting
Feb. 21 TRAV Education Day
March 7 Horses Come Back To HB
March 12 Volunteer Training Day
April 12 – June 4 First Session
May 10 Board Meeting
May 14 Dressage with a View Invitational Show Team
May 15 Hear the Beat Fund Raiser and Invitational Show Team
June 4 – Aug 5 Last Day of First Session
June 5 Hear the Beat Fund Raiser and Invitational Show Team
June 11 Dinner Theater Garden Party
June 14 Second Session
June 25 Hoofbeats Heroes Run Fund Raiser
August 5 Last Day of Second Session
August 6 Breakfast Club Fun Show
August 16-Oct. 15 Third Session
Sept. 3 Dressage with a View Invitational Show Team
Sept. 4 Hear the Beat Fund Raiser and Invitational Show Team