Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hearts - Braille Institute Program Featured in SB Independent

Click here to read an article in the Santa Barbara Independent about our exciting program with the Braille Institute!

Blind Kids Saddle Up for Riding Lessons

Pilot Program Hopes to Continue in Fall
Friday, July 22, 2011
By Rebecca Robbins

Friday, July 15, 2011

Farewell to Phil Johnson

A wise young man with a big smile and even bigger heart will be leaving Hearts in August and heading home to Mississippi. Phil Johnson, Director of Volunteers, has chosen to pursue a doctorate in Child Psychology. Phil credits Hearts with helping him make the decision to continue his education and specialize in helping children with special needs.

“The value of therapeutic horseback riding will always stay with me,” he noted. “So often when a person begins riding at Hearts, what I hear is, ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. But let me put them on a horse and after six weeks I will hear, ‘I can, I can, I can!’ It’s astounding to see such change in the capabilities and attitudes of our riders.”

Phil is passionate about encouraging others to overcome challenges. He has been a great mentor, coach and friend to our riders and volunteers. We will miss his positive attitude and generous spirit. Phil -- come back and visit us soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Annual Report 2010

The Hearts Annual Report is now available, showing our growth and accomplishments in 2010.
We are grateful to our Board of Directors, Advisory Board, staff members, volunteers, families and donors for doing your part in helping Hearts grow into a thriving organization and a uniquely warm and supportive community. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Board Members Join Hearts

Andy Dowen, Lesley Torgeson, Tamara Simmons, Mark Pasternak
Hearts is proud to announce that 5 new members have joined our Board of Directors. 
We are grateful for the faithful dedication of our long-standing board members:  Barbara Toumayan, John Reardon, Lisa Runyen, Mark Pasternak, Katie Upton, Pam Cary and Bruce Bennett.
We are excited to welcome our newest board members: Nancy Tuomey, Lesley Torgeson, Dr. David Agnew, Andy Dowen and Tamara Simmons.
The Board is responsible for conducting long-range planning, establishing organizational policies, and raising funds to ensure the long-term sustainability of Hearts.   Thank you all for your enthusiasm about Hearts and your dedication to our riders.

Bruce Bennett

Pam Cary
Katie Upton

Lisa Runyen

Dr. David Agnew

John Reardon

Barbara Toumayan

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Sage

Sage is 2 ½. He started riding at Hearts in September, 2010 and since then he has fallen head over heels in love with being a cowboy.

Sage loves not only riding, but raking the dirt, feeding the horses, and pointing out to whoever may be near that a horse left poo-poo on the ground.

Riding at Hearts helps Sage learn to speak. He can understand everything and is very smart, but his brain is not able to communicate to his mouth how to form sounds and therefore, words. This is a very frustrating and scary disorder. One of the biggest factors in how soon and how well Sage will learn to speak is how many times he is able to get effective speech therapy. Sage sees a speech pathologist twice a week and rides at Hearts once a week where he also works on his speech.

Sage’s mom reports that “Even though he has speech therapy twice a week at home, it’s his lessons at Hearts that make the biggest difference in his progress. In regular therapy it’s easy for Sage to get bored and distracted. However, when he is atop a horse, he is always excited and engaged. He longs to be able to communicate with his horse Cocoa, and he has made incredible progress since he started riding.”

Right now Sage has about 15-20 words and half of those words are in some way connected to his time out at Hearts. Being at Hearts has made a huge difference in his desire to speak and in his confidence in trying new words. When he asks a horse to “walk-on” or “whoa” and the horse does it, there is an immediate reward for Sage and he realizes the power of communication.

Because of Hearts, Sage is finding confidence in himself, and --- literally --- because of Hearts, we are hopeful that Sage will learn to talk one day. His mother is grateful to our supporters. She writes, “I cannot thank you enough for all that your generosity means to Hearts and especially to children like Sage and moms like me who get to watch their children thrive atop a horse”.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Horse Birthdays!

The Hearts horses are magical in many ways.  For example, did you know that they all celebrate the same birthday?   Well, they do, and YOU are invited to the party!
Please join us for birthday cake, yummy treats, great music, and fun games with prizes for kids and adults.  The horses will have special treats, too.  Bring a gift for your favorite horse and have your picture taken with him or her!

Date: Sunday, July 31st
Time: 1:00-3:00pm
Where: Hearts

The horses have whispered some secret birthday wishes to us.  You can see their "wish list" by clicking here.  
The Wish List is also registered at the horses’ favorite shops:

Jedlickas -- 2605 De La Vina St, Santa Barbara   687-0747

La Cumbre Feed --- 3652 Calle Real    687-1880