As a long time Healing Reins volunteer, I’ve seen first-hand the magic that happens with our wonderful herd of horses and our participants. One lesson that stands out is from my work with a young lady, who I’ll call Michelle, who was part of our Rimrock Trails class for youth in residential treatment.
Michelle was assigned to Joker. Joker has a kind and gentle nature and is a caretaker. Michelle was nervous around horses and out of her comfort zone. She was learning to groom and lead and, although she was fearful, she was beginning to trust Joker. At the end of the lesson, we walked Joker to his paddock. He noticed a pig in a separate enclosure and quickly raised his head with eyes wide. Michelle wanted to know what was going on and I explained that Joker was afraid of the pig.
Next thing I knew, Michelle was standing tall, stroking and reassuring Joker that she would protect him. She led him to his paddock and as I opened the gate for them, Joker turned his head toward Michelle and nickered softly. I saw the biggest smile come over her! From that point on, Michelle’s sense of accomplishment and confidence, made possible by her connection to Joker, continued to grow and became a new sense of self that she was able to take into the larger world.
Patti W., Volunteer
Volunteering at Healing Reins has been—and still is—an amazing experience. Working with kids and adults with disabilities has been for me so heartfelt. I have watched my rider, Kelli, enjoy being with her horse, Joker, so much. Joker and I, along with Kelli, have become very close. I so look forward to volunteering at Healing Reins.
Shirley C., Volunteer
Joker is an old-style Quarter Horse who was born and raised in Texas. He’s an old soul with a playful nature. He’s always had that soft look and steady disposition.
I took many a beginner trail-riding on him, and he always got them there and back safely. He was always good with children; he knew the difference between taking a little one for a ride verses anyone else. He also was a wonderful training partner for my spirited mare. She, too, became a steady and non-reactive trail horse.
In his younger years, Joker was the herd leader. I loved his sweet nickers and calls to me in the morning to encourage me to hurry along and serve him his breakfast.
Joker is confident, clever, fun-loving, patient, and oh so kind and loving. I’m very pleased he has fit in at Healing Reins and is able to give his many gifts to the children who need them the most, especially the incredible bond between horse and human.
Patty D., Joker’s Owner