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)

Dart & Rebecca - #givingtuesday date.jpg

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!

Fire & Ice Celebrates with Fireworks

It definitely was a “hot night for a cool cause” at our Equus Fire & Ice gala. Over 300 guests enjoyed the evening with dazzling entertainment, great food, a hugely successful live auction and giving pyramid and a dance floor that was full until well past 11pm. surpassed its fundraising goal.

The Joy, Love and Transformations at Mane Stream

Guests enjoyed delicious food and cocktails while browsing silent auction items before moving into the ballroom where the real action happened. The evening kicked off with a video featuring Mane Stream clients, riders, volunteers and staff sharing what Mane Stream means to them. Following the video, our auctioneer for the evening, Charles Antin, started our exciting live auction which featured great vacations and experiences.

Although the auction was exciting, the real highlight of the evening for everyone was getting to meet Reagan, a Mane Stream therapy client. Reagan’s mom Kristen shared how the Mane Stream therapists and the horses Reagan loves so much have helped her achieve giant milestones - helping her to walk more confidently and speak more clearly. With Reagan’s newly found voice, she repeatedly grabbed the microphone during her mother’s speech to thank all the attendees herself.

After hearing about Reagan’s journey, our extremely generous guests raised their paddles for Adam Friedland’s Helping Hands Pyramid. Named in honor of a long-time member of the Mane Stream family who passed away in 2016, the pyramid exceeded all expectations raising an astounding $210,000 for Mane Stream’s programs.

At the conclusion of the pyramid, guests were asked to step outside for a surprise. The festive fireworks display was the perfect finale to this extraordinary evening celebrating Mane Stream and the generous community who supports us. The party continued on the dance floor with Chris and his crew from LJDJs and their amazing combination baby grand piano and dj booth.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Fire & Ice an amazing event. It was both a financial success and a great party. The overwhelming support for Mane Stream ensures that our clients, riders, horses and volunteers will continue to have the resources necessary to keep our programs thriving in the futures.

Thank you to our Fire & Ice sponsors!

INFERNO SPONSORS: Frazier Industrial Company, Kirk Kellogg & Emily Maillet, The Peninsula New York Hotel, Red Tail Farm

SCORCHER SPONSORS: Advance Realty, The Brucker Family, The Greifeld Family Foundation. Hal & Kathy Kamine, Steve & Karen Kaufhold, Paul Miller Auto Group, PMC Wireless

TRAIL BLAZER SPONSORS: Andrew & Susan Reale, Kevin & Betsy Sullivan

SIZZLER SPONSORS: American Linehaul, Michael & Stephanie Glickman, Midtown Direct Properties, Rejuv Center for Cosmetic Rejuvenation, Samantha Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey, Weichert Realtors, Wood's Greenhouses

The Amazing Equus Gala Committee

Committee Co-Chairs: Laura Brucker,Sofia Cocoziello and Emily Maillet

Katy Allen, Krissy Binder, Kara Bossert, Lora Butler, Beliz Crook, Sherry Donovan, Dawn Drozjock, Elizabeth Durden, Jill Friedland, Heather Gallagher, Stephanie Glickman, Sarah Gore, Rachel Kalafer, Karen Kaufhold, Kelly Ketterson, Donna Marki, Nancy McCaffrey, Jazz Merton, Beth Mikosh, Priscilla Miller, Yvonne Previdi, Lashana Reale, Susan Reale, Jeanne Rogalin, Marianne Saladino, Kristen Sameth, Kimberly Turiansky, Beth Vartuli, Alexandra Weichert, Jennie Weil, Rael Welsh, and Renee Wood

Dedicated Mane Stream Volunteers

Amy Barkman, Debi DeLorenzo, Kathy Dermody, Julie Doyle, Laura Edelson, Sam Gonzales, Nancy Grossweiler, Justin Hendrickson, Emily Seguine, Karen Vogt, Matt & Dara Woitkowki

Operation: Take the Reins

Fall Session is a Wrap!

This season was a first, where veterans and their partners attended each of the 6 weeks. They experienced the many benefits of time spent with horses, including feelings of peace, relaxation, and connection with their equine partners as they engaged in a variety of hands-on activities. The participants also had an opportunity to discuss challenges and explore feelings in a safe and supportive environment.

Mane Stream’s OPERATION: Take the Reins program is free to veterans and service members. If you’re a veteran (or know of one) who would enjoy spending time with horses, we hope you’ll consider participating in this program.

Halloween week turns hauntingly magical.

We’re in the spirit! 🦄🎃

Sophia - Halloween 2018_2.jpg

Leading up to Halloween there was nothing I thought would be better than transforming our herd into magical unicorns! Not only did our volunteers get a kick out of dressing up our horses, but our participants had even brighter smiles. What kid doesn’t dream of riding a unicorn? Our unicorn herd brought the Halloween magic to Mane Stream and I loved watching everyone walk around the barn laughing and having fun picking a bright pink horn out for Dart or tacking up horses while wearing a rainbow unicorn horn themselves!

To everyone who made this Halloween a little extra magical I want to say thank you!

Rebecca Jablonski, Volunteer Coordinator