Reins of Hope began in 1989, as a community service project by the Clay County Conquistadors 4-H group. Children with special needs were introduced to the world of horses, participating in classes that taught about the tack used with horses, grooming, and safety around and on horses. The children were able to interact with horses in ways they never had been able to, while the 4-Hers benefited in sharing their knowledge and skills with eager, excited pupils. This program continued for sixteen years.
After taking a few years off, Reins of Hope was brought back into service, not by 4-Hers, but by volunteers throughout the community. The goals are similar, in providing children with special needs the opportunity to interact with horses, and have fun!
Interested in volunteering?
Volunteers are the heart of the Reins of Hope organization. Each six-week series provides an hour long session for our participants. The horses are well suited for their duties of walking each evening of class, but the same task can take a toll on the two volunteer side walkers, whose duty it is to provide support and security for each participant. With a handler at the horse's head, each participant needs three volunteers for a one-hour session, and the demands of the job can wear out our volunteers. We are always looking for volunteers to help shoulder the duties involved, while enjoying the time with the horses and our great group of kids.
Donations are also of great value to help defray the costs of keeping our equipment well within safety standards, insurance, and, of course, the transportation of horses. Each week, volunteer horse-owners transport their horses from around the county to the Clay County fairgrounds where the indoor riding arena provides a ‘weather-proof’ location to ensure the session schedule is kept. Transportation costs are offered to all our horse-owners, but often these funds barely cover the cost of fuel, not to mention the time these owners must spend preparing their horse for these sessions.
Interested in Donating?
Reins of Hope
1940 360 St
Spencer, Iowa 51301
Reins of Hope dreams of having their own facility to offer sessions not dependant on the weather, or the activity schedule of the Clay County Fairgrounds. A facility would also allow for horses to reside on the premises and be available for more sessions to occur allowing us to help more individuals. Currently, Reins of Hope can only take 6 participants per session, and currently runs only two six-week sessions annually. Plans are already in the works to increase those sessions to four annually, but that involves a lot of scheduling, not only for use of the arena, but coordinating the volunteers and the horses as well. A facility could open up a new realm of possibilities as well, including therapeutic riding for children and hopefully even adults. Some discussions have included Spencer Hospital therapists to offer such a program.
A great big THANK YOU goes out to all who have donated and participated in recent fundraising events. All your help is greatly appreciated (and needed!) as Reins of Hope continues to move forward and improve on the experience for each participant. We cannot do this with out you!
Because of recent fundraising and donations, Reins of Hope has been able to purchase:
Four riding pads designed for hippotherapy
Three newer saddles for students needing more structure and support
Graphics for the tack trailer
New items for games and therapy
Wheel chair ramp!