A force within the American Hippotherapy Association
As the equine assisted activities and the therapy services industry has grown and evolved over the years, one thing has remained constant - Mane Stream therapists’ involvement with the American Hippotherapy Association, Inc.
Over the years, our therapists have been involved on the national level in a variety of capacities. Gina Taylor, MS, OT, HPCS served as a member of the AHA, Inc. Board of Directors and in that role assisted the organization as the Education Chairperson. In 2008, Gina became a faculty member teaching numerous courses to therapists and therapy assistants about how to incorporate hippotherapy as part of an integrated plan of care for their clients. Gina has taught all over the country and will heading to Saudi Arabia this fall! In addition, Gina assisted with the development of the curriculum for AHA, Inc.'s The Sensory Connection: Sensory Concepts, Theory, and Applications in Hippotherapy course and is one of only 2 OT's in the country teaching about sensory integration and hippotherapy. When not teaching courses, Gina serves as the Committee Chair for the Online Education Sub-Committee. Gina is helping bring AHA, Inc. to the forefront of education by helping to develop online assessments, professional mentoring, and webinars. In recognition of her long-time involvement, Gina was presented with the President’s Award in 2013 for her dedication to the organization.
Melanie Dominko-Richards, MS, CCC-SLP, HPCS attended her first conference in 2015 and was excited to meet other professionals in the industry. Mel got to know any different therapists from around the country and she became eager to work with and help the organization in anyway that she could. In 2017, she was asked to be part of the newly formed Social Media and Marketing Committee. This committee was formed to assist AHA, Inc. in marketing through different digital platforms. Mel was later nominated to be the Committee Chair. Mel will also be working with the newly formed Editorial Team to help design and publish the organization’s biennial magazine. Excited to be a part of the organization on the national level, Mel was nominated to the AHA, Inc. Board of Directors and was excited to begin her 3 year term in May 2019.
Look for updates on their experiences and the inner workings of AHA Inc. throughout the year!
A view from junior reporter, Owen C.
Some Branchburg Central Middle School students went to Mane Stream on a field trip for Enrichment Day 2 with Ms. Stulack and Mrs. Kries. They came on May 23, 2019 in the morning. They worked with Ms. Holland and Ms. Jen on learning about horses.
First, they met in the lobby to put on name tags and go over safety rules. It is important to know the safety rules so that they don’t get hurt.
Next, they found grooming buckets so they could groom the horses. Ms. Holland taught them about the different brushes and the order to use them. The students were in the barn with the horses from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. They took a Branchburg Township school bus. I asked Ms. Jen what she likes most about field trips and she said that they are fun and different. I asked Ms. Holland and she said “I get to meet new people and show them the great horses at Mane Stream. It was a fun trip!
Thanks for being a junior reporter at large Owen!
William Rothpletz Spends May at Mane Stream
Will lives on a similarly sized farm to Mane Stream, about five minutes down the road from the facility. Growing up, he spent much of his free time caring for and riding his family’s horses. In middle school, Will competed in his first show while training under former Olympian Nona Garson. Since then, he has continued to ride competitively in the jumpers division with his German Holsteiner, Raska, along with help from his father and his trainer, Laura Chapot.
In his freshman year at the Pingry School, Will began searching for different opportunities in which he could give back to the community. Because of his passion for, and experience with horses, he quickly identified Mane Stream as the perfect outlet to accomplish his goal. As a leader, Will guided horses through lessons each week while ensuring the safety of each of his riders. After only a few sessions, Will fell in love with the Mane Stream horses and made special connections with each of his students. He also started the Mane Stream Club at Pingry in his junior year to encourage more of his peers volunteer and help out on the weekend.
With his senior year coming to a close, Will decided to return to Mane Stream for an internship for his Independent Senior Project (ISP). Seniors at Pingry spend this last month of school either in an internship or working on other outlined projects. At the end of month they write a paper and deliver a project.
During his time with us, Will worked on various projects involving fundraising, marketing, and managing volunteers, along with helping to plan the Boots on the Boardwalk event, in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the financial and managerial aspects of non-profit organization. Will is looking to study business next year in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University. He was excited to gain first hand experience and a better understanding of these topics while being able to continue volunteering at Mane Stream when he can.
Have you noticed the gorgeous new dark bay in the fields?
That is Mane Stream's newest addition...Judge. From day one, he settled into the program and knew what he was going to be. He handles both our more independent riders and ones that need both a leader and a side walker. His sweet and calm nature make him an instant hit for many of the adaptive riders. Just wait until the campers see him.
Before his arrival to Mane Stream, Judge could be found in the three foot hunter ring showing under the name Eur-Honor.
Thank you Alexandra Walsh for donating this wonderful horse!
Written by: Will Rothpletz
Intern, Megan Roswech’s Story
I’m 6 years old standing along the white fence of a riding ring holding my mom’s hand, watching my grandma proudly lead an old school horse around. My mom explains to me as simply as she can that some people love horses, but might not be able to physically, mentally, or emotionally ride at a typical barn. I began riding when I was 2 years old, so I know the struggles and frustrations, as well as the joys and victories of riding all too well. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that at the time, but 12 years later I finally do.
As I approached my senior year at Mendham High School, I began looking into unconventional ways to spend it. After exploring my options, my guidance counselor and I settled on taking 3 classes in the morning and fulfilling the rest of my credits through an internship. I knew exactly where I wanted to do it!
My first few weeks at Mane Stream were both nerve wracking and exciting. Eager to make a good impression on everyone, I desperately tried to learn every horse’s name and complete as many tasks as possible. However, I soon realized that this internship was so much more than checking off a list. As I became more involved with my internship, I developed an equal fascination and love for adaptive riding and therapy.
In the fall, I began volunteering with the Matheny School students that came to Mane Stream for therapy services. I was amazed by the relationships between the patients and their therapists and nurses. I also noticed how calm the horses remained while the riders would cry or sit on the horse in various positions. I had never seen anything like this and was amazed by the good nature of the horses. I remember going home that day and telling my family all about how special the horses at Mane Stream are.
I spent the winter session volunteering for therapy sessions, and although I didn’t know any clients well enough to notice any major changes, I loved watching the therapists light up when someone made an ‘r’ sound, or took one step without a walker.
Personally, watching riders grow in adaptive riding has been one of the most incredible experiences at Mane Stream. Watching the smile on someone’s face when they can overcome the mental and physical block of tasks that I view as simple, such as trotting a circle or weaving cones, brings an inexplicable joy to everyone around. Moments like these have inspired me to major in special education in college. One day I hope I can impact kids the way the therapists and instructors here have.
Along with everything I’ve learned, I’ve been welcomed into a family. The staff has willingly guided and helped me along my journey here at Mane Stream. They’ve laughed off my mistakes, such as when I spelled the words wrong on the bulletin board and cheered me on as I learned more and became more dependable. Overall, I’ve encountered more real life experiences at Mane Stream than I would have in a classroom. That can all be summed up by a love and passion for helping others and horses!
Are you prepared if NJ bans single use plastic bags?
We are so excited to share that Mane Stream is now part of the Stop & Shop Giving Tag/Community Bag Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community while supporting the environment.
So, the next time you shop at a local Stop & Shop we hope you will purchase a $2.50 reusable Community Bag with a Giving Tag.
Then YOU have the power to direct a $1 donation to Mane Stream within 7 days of your purchase just by going online.
This is a great way to raise awareness, support the environment and fundraise for our cause.
Let’s get started! We can begin by spreading the news to our friends and family. The more people who learn about the program and purchase the Community Bag with Giving Tag the more money we will raise.
To learn more about this program, please visit https://stopandshop.bags4mycause.com/
Thanks in advance!
Alanna Flax-Clark, U.S. Para Equestrian, just returned to Mane Stream (an adaptive riding and therapy services non-profit in Oldwick) after spending a successful winter season competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and training in Wellington, FL with her Dutch Riding Pony, El Paso, or Taco as he is affectionately known. For three months each winter there is a big competitive season in Florida with National competitions every weekend and two CPEDI3* international shows where para riders from various countries compete in front of multiple judges from all over the world. This year Alanna and Taco won all their classes, coming home with blue ribbons at every CPEDI3* and National show!
Back home in NJ, she continues to train with Sara Schmitt and has her first show in Canada at the end of May- another CPEDI3*! Mane Stream is excited to have her back sharing the story of how horses changed her life with the community at resource fairs and networking events.
If you’d like to learn more about Alanna’s story from therapy client to competitive para-equestrian, have her out to your school, business, or club/organization, please contact email@example.com.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2019 Camp T-Shirt Contest…Mane Stream Volunteer & Photographer, Kate Magnier! Her totally cute rendition of “Cartwheelin’ Horse” clinched the win.
Thanks to everyone else who entered this year’s contest we now have several pieces of artwork to use in various ways throughout the 9 weeks of camp. From coloring books to folder covers and more, everyone’s art will shine this summer.
Other finalists include Chris Walker, Mary Purcell, and Maggie Conroy!
Thanks for being flexible!
The game themed Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 8-13) unlocked the bonus stage at Mane Stream. The week was packed with puns galore, Twister decorations, and a recharging station filled with Packman cupcakes, Packman brie cheese board, Power Pellets (aka cheese puffs), Dove chocolates (thanks to M&M Mars) and tons of other treats to keep the volunteers’ stomachs happy and feet moving.
We hope the week showcased how much our staff and participants appreciate our volunteers for everything they do! We were able to have fun and present the volunteers with a new t-shirt with a unifying design. Additional thank yous came in the form of flowers and verbal acknowledgement from everyone involved. We love our volunteers!
We will never forget…without our volunteers it would be Game Over!