Samantha Gonzalez - Volunteer Spotlight

969.45 Hours Volunteered Since August of 2016

Three years ago I decided that, in addition to starting my first semester at Raritan Valley Community College, I wanted to start volunteering. I looked around online for where to go and I came across Mane Stream. I read about what they do and it sounded fascinating and fun, and so I signed up for the August Orientation and Training. From there, I signed up for my first session. I originally signed up for Tuesday and Saturday afternoons, to which the volunteer coordinator asked if I could come earlier on Saturday. At first, I was reluctant to wake up so early but decided that I would do it anyway because I was excited to be able to assist in the programs. Since that day, I have spent nearly every Saturday morning at Mane Stream.

            Mane Stream has changed my life in so many ways. From the participants to the volunteers to the staff, this place has become a second home for me. I came to Mane Stream with little horse experience. Because of this, I was a little lost in the barn during my first couple of weeks of volunteering. I am so thankful to all of the volunteers that were so nice in answering all of my questions and making me feel welcome. I must also say that it is such a great feeling to be around a bunch of people who just want to help, in any way they can. I have met some amazing people in the barn at Mane Stream and they inspire me to keep doing all that I can for others.

            Every day I come to volunteer, I work with participants that are constantly teaching me something new. Their perseverance and positive attitudes are some of the many things that keep me coming back. Whether it is an adaptive rider who has learned to weave through the cones independently or a therapy client who sat backwards on their moving pony for the first time, each day brings new victories because of the work they do here. I love that I get to watch the progress made by these participants week-to-week, and celebrate these victories with them.

            This September has presented a mixed basket of emotions for me. I am proud to say that after a successful few years at Raritan Valley, I am now transferring to the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom to complete my bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Although I am excited for the adventure that lies ahead, I am sad that I will be missing out on time spent at Mane Stream. I have made such great friends and experienced so many amazing things by coming here, and it is absolutely something I will miss while I am gone. I look forward to coming back over winter and summer breaks and seeing everyone very soon!

We miss you Sam but look forward to seeing you during the Holiday break!

October is Physical Therapy Month!

Mane Stream PT Team, Alissa & Katrina share…

Presented by Mane Stream PT Team, Alissa Lanahan, PT, DPT, Cert MDT and Katrina Low-Beer, PT, DPT

Presented by Mane Stream PT Team, Alissa Lanahan, PT, DPT, Cert MDT and Katrina Low-Beer, PT, DPT

Physical therapists are "movement experts who optimize the quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education" (APTA). During World War I, wounded soldiers were rehabilitated by early therapists named reconstruction aides. The profession continued to grow following World War II and the treatment of polio. In 1954, the American Physical Therapy Association complied a professional credentialing exam that provided physical therapists with licensure. To become a physical therapist, you must receive a Doctorate of Physical Therapy which requires six to seven years of study and pass a licensure exam. The State of New Jersey also certifies Physical Therapy Assistants; those in this role must receive a two-year associate's degree and pass their licensure exam - they are then allowed to treat clients under the supervision of/within the plan of care set by a licensed PT.

Physical Therapists work in various settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, schools, in-home care, and here at Mane Stream! Physical Therapists prescribe exercises and provide manual treatments including mobilizations and stretching to improve overall function and mobility of their patients. One intervention that physical therapists use at Mane Stream is the horse, to bring out the best movement in their patients!

Everyone is welcome to join us at Mane Stream to learn first-hand from our PT Team on 10/24 @ 6:30pm.

If you are interested in learning more about the profession of physical therapy and how horses are used as a treatment tool please attend our continuing education course on Thursday, October 24th 6:30 to 8:00 pm. RSVP to

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NEW Toddler Program

Occupational Therapy for Children 18-24 Months!

Don’t miss out on one of the limited spots available for this Fall. Families will work on meeting missed milestones through the use of toys, therapy balls, swings, horses and family interaction/coaching.

2 Families per group
1 hour session per week
Wednesdays 1:30-2:30PM
$440 Family Price for 8 Sessions


Gina Taylor, MS, OT, HPCS,
Licensed Occupational Therapist,
Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist
and Mom

CALL: 908.439.9636

Sunset Yoga on the Hill

Winding Down at the End of the Weekend

On last Sunday in August, 12 yoga lovin’ ladies donated $10 each to enjoy a sunset slow flow yoga class led by one of our dedicated Saturday volunteers, Meg Schuster. We couldn’t have asked for a better evening while stretching and communing with nature, and the sunset was truly inspiring. Of course, the herd’s antics gave a special humor to the experience. Thank you to everyone who came and big thanks to Meg who preached Mane Stream’s mission of Unbridled Possibilities throughout the entire evening.

Summer Camp Update

It’s a wrap!

2019 Summer Camp was a smashing success and we would like to thank the volunteers and interns who made it fun filled and safe summer for all the campers. This is the first year we had a total of five Camp Interns whose sole purpose was to assist with the day to day activities of camp. Camp Director, Holland Kochanski enthusiastically stated, “This year’s success was due in large part to these 5 amazing interns!  Not only did they plan activities to keep campers engaged and entertained throughout the day, they also anticipated the camp staff’s needs.  At every turn, they were helpful and motivated to complete the tasks that needed to be done.  They even participated in our water day activities!”

Gallery to Come Soon!

Volunteer Coordinator, Rebecca Jablonski who joined the Mane Stream team after camp ended last year, wanted to try something a little different. This year she offered volunteers a half-day option for those who were only available for a part of camp. This proved to be a significant help as it gave our volunteers more flexibility for their day.

Calling ALL Campers! Register to compete in the Camper Class at the Fall Horse Show on Sunday 9/29. Register Here.

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Volunteer Spotlight - Colleen Melilli

Almost 500 Hours of Service!

Colleen Melilli began volunteering at Mane Stream in the 9th grade as a way to conquer her fear of animals. Her friend, Bridget Torcivia suggested Mane Stream because our horses have a collectively calm demeanor. After deciding to take the leap and volunteer with Mane Stream on the weekends, she grew to love not only our programs but our horses too!

Colleen wanted more exposure to Mane Stream’s various programs and so when summer rolled around she signed up to volunteer at summer camp. She quickly found that working at our summer camp was one of her favorite parts of the summer! Between working with the new campers and getting to know more of the horses, she started feeling more connected to our herd. While each aspect of camp is unique and fun, Colleen really enjoyed helping the riders connect with their horse and participating in water day.

Colleen says, “I love all of the people at Mane Stream from the campers to the other volunteers and staff, and the horses make it better still!” Colleen starts her freshman year at college this fall and plans to return to camp next summer for more of the magic of Mane Stream.

Holland, Mane Stream’s Camp Director, is impressed with Colleen’s reliability, dedication and conscientiousness. “Over the years, Colleen has been challenged to work outside of her comfort zone to help with various parts of horse care, horse handling and helping participants achieve their horsemanship goals. She has done a great job with all of these tasks.”

We are so appreciative of Colleen and her dedication to Mane Stream’s mission to overcome her own fears and come back each summer to get more involved!

Interested in joining the team? OR know someone who might like to join the team? Please share this story and link to our Volunteer Opportunities.

Facilities Manager Wanted

We are looking for someone to help keep Mane Stream's 12 acres in tip top shape, from fields to fences to barn to vehicles.

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Candidates should be at least 18 years old and have experience in overall maintenance of a related operation (equipment, construction, grounds). Specific tasks include maintenance of two riding arenas, barn, office and fields/fencing as well as routine maintenance of farm equipment and vehicles.

Mane Stream provides therapy services and adaptive riding for children and adults with special needs. We have 14 horses, office space, 16-stall barn, indoor riding arena, outdoor ring.

This is a part-time, permanent position requiring 12-15 hours per week. Salary dependent on experience. Interested applicants should send resume and references to

Rutgers OTA Completes Fieldwork at Mane Stream


Meet Keribeth Walsh!

Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) are required to complete a 40 hour fieldwork placement and Mane Stream has become one of the favorite locations in the area. These placements are chosen by fieldwork coordinators and once at Mane Stream they work closely with Gina Taylor, MS, OT, HPCS. Keribeth just completed her placement at Mane Stream. When asked to talk about Keribeth, Gina willingly wanted to share... Keribeth's time as a student here was enriching to Mane Stream clients through her interactions with them and her ability to share about her own children.  Keribeth demonstrated skills that families look for when working with an occupational therapy practitioner- empathy, good clinical reasoning and judgement.  I enjoyed having Keribeth as a fieldwork student and, as a faculty member for RVCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, believe that fieldwork education helps students put classroom learning into practice.”

Keribeth shares about her time at Mane Stream

I am a mother of 3 whose middle child was born with developmental disabilities. I loved learning from Gina and the other therapists, and gathering ideas that I can take home and work on with my own son.

How has your time at Mane Stream impacted your future? One of the things I love most about OT is its versatility.  In terms of my future, what I am learning during my time at Mane Stream will stay with me no matter where I work.

How does therapy at Mane Stream differ compared to traditional clinics? I don’t yet have a lot of experience in a traditional clinic setting, but what I do appreciate seeing at Mane Stream is the multi-disciplinary approach used.  There is also a calmness at this site despite the strong work ethic the therapists possess. I’m not certain I’d find that anywhere else.

What’s been the most surprising thing you have learned during your time here? What I am most surprised about is how adaptable it is to so many clients of varying abilities.  I am equally impressed with the skills that can be taught simply by utilizing a horse during treatment.

Do you think more therapists would like working in this non-traditional environment? Why? I do think therapists would enjoy working at Mane Stream. The horses provide a unique and fun addition to therapy, but they also help to enhance the session in a way that is very hard to replicate in a traditional setting.

What favorite moments will you always remember? I love to see the faces of the children as they are astride the horses because it allows even the child with complex issues the opportunity to enjoy an experience that most children love, while providing them with valuable therapy at the same time.

Mendham High School Student completes IBCP project

Alex raised $300 doing yard work! Then purchased grooming tool sets for the herd at Mane Stream and donated the remaining half of her earnings!

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Alex Weeks began volunteering as a sidewalker at Mane Stream in December 2018 for both the adaptive riding lessons and therapy sessions. She attends Mendham High School where she is part of the International Baccalaureate College Programme. The IBCP is a challenging two-year course for students. The career-related program is a framework of international education that incorporates the vision and educational principles of the IB into a unique program specifically developed for students who wish to engage in career related-learning.

Alex needed to go out into the community and learn about something that was of interest to her. Since she has a passion for horses and has been motivated by her volunteer work at Mane Stream, Alex decided to work with Mane Stream for her project. The goal of the project was to make an impact on an organization either directly or indirectly. Alex had to figure out how to create a fundraiser and then use that money to help purchase something that was needed for the barn. Since she was already volunteering at Mane Stream, Alex felt she could make more of an impact contributing to the horses and people she already knew.

Thank you for all your hard work and commitment to Mane Stream!

Meet the 5 Camp Interns!

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The 2019 Mane Stream Summer Camp Team

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Mary Arnuk

Currently studying to become a teacher at Farleigh Dickinson University, and hoping to work towards a special education certificate, Mary Arnuk decided that Mane Stream would be the perfect place to complement her studies. Mary is returning to Mane Stream after volunteering for camp for the last two years. Mane Stream’s internship was so different than any other internship she was considering. The hands-on experience to apply her skills was very appealing and she believed it would be beneficial to her major. For all of these reasons, Mary knew Mane Stream was a place she wanted to be this summer! This internship will allow Mary to gain valuable experience in a field she is passionate about. Her favorite moments so far have been helping teach the kids horse anatomy and watching the kids improve each week. She has also just started the process of working towards her PATH Intl. certification. Fun fact, Mary has been riding for about 6 years, and has a huge soft spot for animals!

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Emma Newman

Emma just finished her junior year at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA where she’s majoring in Psychology and minoring in English. She stumbled upon Mane Stream’s internship when she performed a Google search for “equine-assisted therapies”. Emma’s ridden for over 11 years! She’s volunteered for the Special Olympics and worked with a boy with special needs where she used to ride and thought this would be a great way to further her experience and test her skills. Emma is interested in learning more about what’s involved with counseling with the help of a horse as this is a career that’s top on her list. She also grew up with relatives with disabilities and believes this type of therapy could be extremely beneficial for them. In the future, she’d like to work towards her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a focus on using a horse or sports psychology.

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Jocelyn Struble

Jocelyn came to Mane Stream to do her internship because we offer so many programs for so many people, all with the help of a horse! This is what she wants to do with the rest of her life…become an Adaptive Riding Instructor. At Mane Stream, she is learning from everyone (staff, volunteers, participants, and horses) which is increasing her knowledge in adaptive riding and teaching in general. Jocelyn is going into her senior year at Wilson College where she is majoring in Equine Facilitated Therapeutics with a minor in Special Education. She is also halfway through the process of becoming a certified instructor in Pennsylvania and then plans to get her PATH Intl. certification. As a final note, Jocelyn stated, “All I want to do is help others for the rest of my life, what better way than with horses?”

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Lily Fosburgh

Lily found Mane Stream through a friend who was talking about the orientation & training sessions. Her mom had been prompting her to find something to do for the summer so she decided to sign up for the next training. She has loved horses since she was a young kid. She also loves helping people and giving back to the community. So Mane Stream seemed to be the perfect combination of both, and it turned out to be even better than she expected.

After volunteering for two summers in a row Lily decided that it would be an amazing opportunity to broaden her horizons even more within Mane Stream. As a rising senior in high school Lily will be applying for colleges this fall and though it will look good on her resume, spending time with the kids, volunteers, horses, and staff is her priority. Mane Stream is her “happy place” where she can forget about stress from work and school because she knows that what she’s doing is making somebody else’s day better. Lily is always excited to come to Mane Stream because each time is unique. She is looking forward to getting work experience as a leader but knows she’ll have fun with it from all sides. She believes this internship will prepare her not only for college but also for the rest of my life. Volunteering so far has taught me so much and I know I can learn more every day.

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Sarah Perry

Sarah Perry intends to pursue a career in Therapeutic Recreation after graduating from York College of Pennsylvania. She was drawn to Mane Stream for her summer internship because of its hands-on experience, and opportunity to test her knowledge and opportunities to apply the skills she learns. She hopes to learn more about bettering the quality of life of the individuals who attend the programs at Mane Stream, as well as what it takes to implement new programs. In her spare time, Sarah loves to spend time outside, hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking. One day she’d love to try camping!