The Herd's Holiday Wishlist

All of the Mane Stream herd is on the nice list this year! They have each added to the holiday wish list hoping to find something special under the tree or in their stocking at the holiday open house. (Of course, treats are always a favorite) Please check out the holiday wish list to see what your favorite horse is asking for this year.

Blaze - Stall Guard  (Black/Grey)
Buzz - Fly Mask (Horse Size)
Chandler - Cross Tie (Black)
Dart - Fly Mask (Small Pony)
Justin - Fly Mask (Small Pony)
Minnie - Cotton Lead Rope (Sky blue/black)
Myrell - Bell Boots (Black/XL)
Ian - #10 Clipper Blades or T-84 Clipper Blades
Tink - Fly Bonnet  (Black/Cob)
Sam - Fly Bonnet (Black/Pony)
Joe - Mosquito Halt
Dorito - Breakaway Halter (Black/horse)
Arjo - Mosquito Halt
Mel - Fly Bonnet (Black/Pony)

 

Making a difference in Daniel's Life

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“Riding is better than the letter U!” says Daniel, a 5 year old adaptive rider. It takes a lot to be better than the letter of the week in preschool so we know this is very high praise. Last spring Daniel was in the first child-only session of Horses for Healing (H4H), a program for individuals living with cancer. He enjoyed his time with the horses and with program coordinator Kelly so much, that he started riding lessons as soon as his H4H session finished.

In March 2016, Daniel was diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain cancer called Medulloblastoma. He had his first brain surgery within days of his diagnosis and spent over 150 nights at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). His treatments included high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. Daniel’s parents, Lisa and Stuart, split their time between CHOP with Daniel and at home in Glen Ridge with their older son Ryan helping with homework and getting him to ice hockey practice.

Daniel is currently in remission and his prognosis is positive. Due to all of the surgeries and treatments he had at such a young age, Daniel needed to re-learn how to talk, walk and eat. Daniel’s physical therapist strongly recommended horseback riding as an activity to help Daniel build core strength and balance. Lisa recalls that the therapist “singled out Mane Stream as providing excellent services.”

While researching Mane Stream they found our Horses for Healing program information and hoped it would be a good fit. They appreciated that, thanks to our generous donors, the program is free. Daniel and his preschool classmate Katelyn (also a cancer survivor) were the first two participants in our kid’s version of H4H.

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Daniel was definitely hesitant about the horses before coming to the farm for the first time since he had never been around them before. His stem cell transplants meant he couldn’t go near animals while in treatment. Now, as his dad says, “he loves coming to the farm and literally counts the days until his next lesson.”

Daniel is not able to participate in many traditional recreational sports. Riding at Mane Stream provides Daniel with a safe physical activity and he can participate in a sport just like his friends do.

Daniel, like many of our riders and clients, continues to receive physical, occupational and speech-language therapy weekly. According to his dad, adding weekly riding lessons has a positive impact. “Daniel’s balance has definitely improved. And his ability to follow directions is much better than it used to be.” These are great examples of how spending time on a Mane Stream horse translates to concrete benefits in everyday life. Riding programs at Mane Stream are designed to adapt to the rider’s abilities and ensure the best possible experiences and outcomes.

You are key to making sure that Daniel and all of the children and adults with special needs in Mane Stream’s therapy and riding programs are able to reach their goals, have fun, learn a new skill and improve their strength, balance and coordination.

Your gift to Mane Stream will:

  • Buy food and bedding for the horses

  • Train our volunteers and staff

  • Keep our horses healthy and happy

  • Provide memorable experiences for children of all abilities at summer camp

  • Maintain our beautiful 12-acre farm

  • Give joy and confidence to over 250 riders and clients!

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Thank you for helping Mane Stream change lives – one person at a time. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Sincerely,

Trish Hegeman, Executive Director

P.S. Did you know that Mane Stream hosts field trips for schools and scout troops, outings for adults with dementia and programs for veterans and children living with grief? Find out more at www.manestreamnj.org or on Facebook.

Holiday Open House - Let's Celebrate!

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Come take pictures with your favorite Mane Stream horse and give them a sweet treat or two (candy canes, carrots or apples)!

Bring a dessert/snack or just yourself! (warm beverages & snacks provided)

WHETHER YOU STAY FOR 5 MINUTES OR STAY THE WHOLE TIME, WE HOPE YOU’LL STOP BY AND CELEBRATE WITH US!

If you would like bring a snack to share please contact Rebecca Jablonski (volunteer@manestreamnj.org) so that we can plan appropriately. THANKS!

#GivingTuesday Goal Met!!

Thanks to everyone who donated for #GivingTuesday!!

Because of YOU, we surpassed our #brightsmilesatmanestream goal of $3,000 including donations via Facebook, online and in-person. And let's not forget those matching donors! Your support is what makes it all possible.

The funds collected will cover the annual costs of the dental care for our herd so that they can all have healthy, strong teeth, and shiny, bright smiles! THANK YOU!

#ShowYourChompers Selfies

#GivingTuesday Out-Takes - Oh My!

A Cornucopia of Thanks and a Flock of Turkeys!

Being thankful for….

Mane Stream started celebrating Thanksgiving a little early this year with the bulletin board that went up at the beginning of November. But can you really start too early? Shouldn’t you always remember to be thankful for what you have and who you know?

This year our cornucopia overflowed with all the reasons why the staff, volunteers and participants are thankful in their daily lives.

…and then there’s the goofier side of celebrating Thanksgiving!

You can’t say that Mane Stream isn’t fun! Maybe we’re a little different but we believe every day at Mane Stream should be fun. It doesn’t matter if you are working on your therapy goals or trying to master trotting. At Mane Stream it’s normal to…

…find a flock of turkeys right around Thanksgiving time.

I’m Motivated with Horses Back in My Life!

 Roos is currently working on feeling more secure in a bigger trot, and wants to focus on her sitting trot next year to improve her balance.

Roos is currently working on feeling more secure in a bigger trot, and wants to focus on her sitting trot next year to improve her balance.

Roos Cecil came to Mane Stream in January of 2017 after reading an article in “MS Connect” magazine. The article was about a man with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the many benefits he experienced from his adaptive riding lessons. Roos grew up riding but stopped when she started having symptoms of MS. She considered riding again, but didn’t think a ‘normal’ riding school could accommodate her. After reading the article, she searched online for adaptive riding and discovered Mane Stream!

Primarily an English rider (dressage and some jumping) in her youth, Roos also enjoyed riding Western and trail rides for fun. After riding on and off for more than 30 years she was proficient and really enjoyed the sport. But being back on a horse now can be frustrating. She laments that she can’t do what she used to be able to, but says she definitely feels good about riding again. And she loves being around the horses!

The challenge of riding is the element that Roos loves most. Riding provides a break from her daily life of sitting behind a computer. She says that even when her body doesn’t feel like cooperating, she is always motivated to come to Mane Stream for her lesson. Roos’ PATH Intl. Registered Instructor, Casey McMahon, said “When Roos first started riding at Mane Stream she was so happy just to be back in the saddle. She has come a long way since that first day! She challenges herself every time she rides.

Roos loves riding Dorito (Thank you Andrea Davey!), and thinks he’s perfect for her needs but has appreciated every horse she has ridden for the experience it has given her.

Casey and Roos have set a goal for her to canter again. Casey said “Roos is beyond dedicated to returning to where she previously was in her riding ability.” In general, Roos wants to get back to where she was when she stopped riding about 10 years ago, before the MS symptoms started. Though she compares herself to her former level, Casey believes she should be proud of where she is now and what she has achieved.

Roos always pushes herself in small ways. She dismounts to the ground instead of to the ramp, which is more challenging for her. She also likes to mount from the smaller block. This pushes her balance and forces her muscles to work before she is even on the horse. Casey says, “She truly is an inspiration and such a joy to work with. Even when she has met her limit for the day, just walking around on Dorito and chit-chatting about things makes her happy.”

Focusing on specific goals during her adaptive riding lessons has encouraged Roos to improve her stamina and core strength. Roos says this gives her a reason to do the exercises she has to do at home. Since MS makes you tired without a good reason, it’s easy to skip the work outs. She now feels more motivated with the horses back in her life! Roos says Mane Stream is a wonderful place - “the volunteers and staff are super-friendly, and I always feel welcome and encouraged. I feel very lucky that I’m able to ride at Mane Stream.”

You Can Help Someone Like Roos!

Share Roos’ story and help someone find Mane Stream. OR consider volunteering on a weekly basis to be a part of our participants’ success stories.

Volunteer Spotlight - Leroy Hunninghake

We periodically spotlight our volunteers and this month Volunteer Coordinator, Rebecca Jablonski, has chosen Leroy!

Why you ask? Well…

 Leroy’s dedication and enthusiasm about each program we offer hasn’t gone unnoticed!

Leroy’s dedication and enthusiasm about each program we offer hasn’t gone unnoticed!

Leroy is a valuable NEW member to our Mane Stream volunteer team. His dedication and enthusiasm about each program we offer hasn’t gone unnoticed. Instructors and therapists alike have expressed their appreciation in having Leroy as part of their lessons and sessions. He takes advantage of every opportunity to learn the different aspects of what we do here. If Leroy is available to participate in a continuing education class or fill in a substitute spot, he will do it! His capability in the barn and flexibility with each program is something every staff member values. Rebecca reiterated, “I am so glad to have Leroy as part of the Mane Stream family. I look forward to working with him to continue making our barn part of his family.”

About Leroy…

Leroy has been in the IT field for the last 26 years. Currently he is a contractor at Chubb Insurance as an IT systems analyst for their House Counsel department. Outside of work he’s passionate about being outdoors. Some of his favorite activities are kayaking and taking his puppy for walks and visits to the dog park.

Leroy came to Mane Stream quite by chance. One day a co-worker told him she volunteers at an organization that provides equine related services in PA. He’d driven by Mane Stream for many years and had mentioned it to a longtime friend whose son has special needs. Last July when he stopped by Mane Stream, his friend was in the lobby with his son who was waiting to begin his therapy session. That kind of settled things!

Leroy is equally excited to work in both the adaptive and therapy programs. Each participant teaches him something about them, as well as about himself. After not having been around a horse for over 25 years, he loves working with them again. He’s also amazed at what they offer each participant. Like his recently adopted puppy, he doesn’t know if he’s adopted Mane Stream or they’ve adopted him. Likely a bit of both!

You rock Leroy! And we’ll see you tomorrow right?! JK! Well, actually…

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

Visit our Volunteer Section of the website. Then create your Volunteer Profile and sign up for the an orientation & training session. We’ve got several to choose from in the next few months.

#GivingTuesday Save the Date

Show us your chompers on #GivingTuesday! (11/27)

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We have 14 hard-working horses in our herd and you can show your love for them for as little as $5 per horse. We hope to raise $3000 to cover the costs of the dentist bills for our herd for 2019 so that they can all have healthy, strong teeth, and shiny, bright smiles!

What you can do before 11/27…

Take a selfie or video with a horse showing both your bright smiles. You can use your own horse, a horse you know OR one of the Mane Stream herd during your volunteer shift.

Then on #GivingTuesday…

Make a donation of any size and then SHARE your selfie on social media stating why you support Mane Stream. Be our advocate! Ask friends and family to help us reach our goal.

Don’t want to wait…

Make a donation online now and then sit back and relax. We would still love to see a selfie on #GivingTuesday.

Each Moment - A True Gift

Horses for Healing - A Time to Disconnect from Medical Thoughts

 Joy states “Trotting on Myrell makes me feel free and truly present in each moment - a true gift!”

Joy states “Trotting on Myrell makes me feel free and truly present in each moment - a true gift!”

When Joy turns into the gravel driveway heading to the barn, she disconnects from the medical thoughts she carries about her cancer experience. “Mane Stream provides a cleansing experience and a breath of fresh air!”

Living with cancer is difficult. Every Horses for Healing participant says it is important to have the chance to “feel normal” and this program gives them that chance. Time at the barn, whether you ride or not, is spent focusing on building a connection with your horse and the other participants. One of the only programs of its kind in our area, Horses for Healing (affectionately known as H4H) is unique. It combines groundwork, riding lessons and horse care into the program and it FREE of charge.

Each week, Myrell allows Joy to brush her “beautiful brown hair” and, with the assistance of Mane Stream volunteers, Joy prepares Myrell for their riding lesson. The staff members and volunteers are welcoming and supportive. The techniques and skills they share challenge Joy’s abilities in ways that give her confidence in what she can do since her double mastectomy. Joy says, “Myrell is a big girl and so am I, and I feel safe on top of her, learning how to hold the reins, sitting straighter on the saddle [gaining better posture which is a positive benefit for the reconstruction].” Joy reports that trotting on Myrell makes her “feel free and truly present in each moment- a true gift!”

 Don’t want to ride? “Spending time with the horses is enjoyable and therapeutic.”

Don’t want to ride? “Spending time with the horses is enjoyable and therapeutic.”

Another participant, Renee, is coming back for a second H4H session after spending the first session grooming, tacking and bonding with her small pony, Justin. She found these tasks enjoyable and therapeutic. A third participant, Virginia said that in her youth she rode horses daily and was a member of the United States Pony Club, advancing to a fairly high level in their riding program. Working around and caring for the horses during H4H brought those memories back and was comforting. She’s now interested in riding again and said “everyone running the program was great and aware of the participants needs.”

Reaching goals and becoming a better rider are secondary to doing something new and challenging. Our participants report that taking care of an animal instead of having people take care of them creates a different dynamic while they regain skills and recapture memories from before their cancer diagnosis. Every week brings gains in confidences and growth in abilities.

The Mane Stream volunteers who assist with this program tend to do so because they have in some way been impacted by cancer. Laura Edelson, who started volunteering almost 2 years ago, has volunteered with every H4H session since that time. She loves the H4H program and enjoys watching the participants’ confidence grow little by little each week as they start to relax and enjoy their time on and with the horses.

Program Coordinator, Kelly Champion loves working with this population and keeps in touch with them even after their session concludes. Because of her dynamic personality, Kelly finds a way to encourage each participant in just the right way with the right degree of persuasion to get the results she believes each is able to achieve. With misty eyes, Kelly beams during the last lesson as her pupils, attempt mounting unassisted and trotting off lead.

Several sessions of Horses for Healing are scheduled for 2019. Please SHARE to reach individuals who could benefit from this FREE program. All those living with, recovering from, and living life after cancer are welcome in H4H, including their caregivers/partners.

10 Minutes Is All It Takes!

Seniors Visit on a Cool & Rainy Day

We’ve all woken up on the wrong side of the bed, right? Well maybe all we needed was a trip to the farm to make everything better.

During the most recent Seniors Field Trip, two members of the Adult Day Center of Somerset County were a little grumpy when they walked into the barn. The day was cool and rainy, and the barn felt a bit dark and clammy. Five out of the seven members walked right in with smiles from ear to ear eager to meet the three ponies waiting to be groomed. The two others, a first-timer and a previous attendee, were NOT quite as excited.

With hands firmly in her pockets and a face to match her attitude, return visitor “Jane” entered the barn and walked back and forth refusing to help get the ponies clean. A long 10 minutes later, her face started to soften and her hands came out from her pockets. That’s all it took for the closest pony to stretch its neck out to investigate. With that small gesture the woman smiled and reached out to pet the pony. After that she picked up a brush and went to work brushing the dirt off her pony.

The other senior who had never been to the farm, walked into the barn and refused to touch a single pony. He clearly stated he was not going to clean any horse and did not want to pet one either. After 10 minutes of watching the others petting and grooming he agreed to take a brush and went to work. He then moved onto the next horse and gently brushed the horse’s face and neck until the horse fell asleep.

Coming to Mane Stream for a few hours gives seniors with dementia a purpose and focus. They take care of someone else instead of always being taken care of. Maybe that means doing something they never tried before. Maybe the experience brings back memories from their childhood. Whatever it is, they share their experience with the staff and volunteers either verbally or through their smiles.

Each trip ends with the participants enjoying a quick lunch in the reception area. This time a couple of the seniors gladly offered to sweep up the whole room, saying they wanted to help and be of some use. Don’t we all want that?!

Mane Stream is proud to provide a place for these seniors and we look forward to their monthly trips. SHARE the news!