Abe's Story

My name's Abraham, but everyone calls me Abe. Before coming to Reins of Life, I was a trail riding horse. I was moved over here, to Reins of Life, when I retired some years ago due to a spinal injury. But these days, my workload is lighter than ever as an assisted-riding therapy horse.

These past three weeks, I've been working with a young man named Jason. When he and I first met, I could tell that there was a lot on his mind. He wore a solemn expression and zoned in and out of conversations and activities. However, I think he deserves much credit for bravery and determination. It was plain to see that Jason had been through a lot in his past. However, that didn't seem to deter him. He mounted with ease and rode so well that I almost forgot he was there on our trail ride yesterday! By all of this, I could tell that he had been riding before. However, he has a bit of trouble being aware of when to stop, start, or turn. Nevertheless, I believe that those obstacles will be overcome very soon.

First Day Back!

Hey guys, Levi here! Today we launched our first day of this year's assisted riding sessions, and we were all ecstatic! I know that I said that we all missed our riders, but seeing familiar faces (and some new ones too) had us all excited! There were so many clients; we had to have three riders per session, which meant that everyone, staff, volunteers, and horses were working full throttle. It felt good. If there's anything anyone needs to know about horses, it's that we love work. We love having something to do, and we love the people we work with. However, I spent the first couple sessions looking through the bars of the round pen. But, just when I thought that I wasn't going to be used that day, Conner came striding over more confident than I've ever seen him. He's improved so much even over the summer! To my incredible joy, I was led into the arena, tacked up and mounted. The ride went great! Conner knew precisely what to do, and his happiness was evident from his beaming face, and he did everything with almost a charismatic flare. However, he still has a long way to go before reaching full recovery. But, I'm more than willing to go the distance with him.

Comet and Christa

Hello everyone! It's me, Comet. I understand that summer is soon coming to a close and that school has begun again for many, which means that sessions will be starting again very soon! We're all very excited for the cold and warm winter blankets. However, we are mostly looking forward to seeing our riders again.

Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought of little Christa. I could tell that she was different from the minute I saw her, and in the best sort of way. She had a smile that brightened everyone's spirit and an infectious laugh. She didn't seem at all hindered by her weak frame and, although she had a bit of trouble walking over, she was filled with assurance and was without fear.

There was not much of a need to get her acquainted with me, or with anything in general. She was just ready for whatever was to come. However, her body couldn't seem to catch up with her energized spirit, and she was straining with almost every exercise. The ride was a bit rough on her part, but she was still beaming when it was over. As she slid down, she made it over to my nose and gave it a kiss and a stroke.

Since then, Christa and I have been working on her core, getting her strong and it's been quite an adventure filled with significant milestones. She can already keep her balance, for the most part. Christa loves games like Cat-Cow and throwing and catching things as she and I make our way through an obstacle course. She's learning so much and getting stronger every day.

Levi and Kenzie

Hey, ya'll! It’s me, Levi! It's been boiling over here at the farm. You can see the heat rising from the ground, and it's a little too tranquil.

Summer riding camps ended a little over a month ago, and we're all starting to get a bit restless. Both staff and horses are looking forward to autumn. Then, sessions will begin again, and we all enjoy the brisk weather. But, more than that, we all miss our riders.

I've been thinking a lot about little Kenzie. When I first met her, it was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that someone could be so small, even for a three-year-old. However, I soon discovered that her slightness was because of down syndrome. But, other than that, one could have just assumed that she was only little. I could barely feel her weight when they gently placed her on the bareback pad. She was a bit nervous at first, but soon we were both enjoying ourselves. She kept calling me a cow because of my brown spots, and she made everyone laugh. For someone so little, she has such a big personality.

During the session, she worked some on word association and did wonderfully, but I think that I will always be called cow. I don't mind. After a few more exercises and walks around the arena, we tried some kinesthetics. It was then that Kenzie started to have a little trouble. But, after a few sessions, she's been able to do most of the exercises with ease.

We all love her dearly, and I can't wait to see her again!

Pepsi's Story

Hello there! My name is Pepsi. I'm an American Paint Horse, and I work as an Therapeutic Riding Horse along with Levi, Comet, and a few others. We all love our jobs, and they've impacted us about as much as the children we serve. You see, I was practically a rescue and came from a less-than-comfortable background. I spooked at everything and was terrified of people. But, with a little love, patience, and persistence, I learned that I didn't have to be afraid. Now I know that with good people around me and a trustworthy team, we can overcome almost any challenge. Moreover, I learned that I could become that kind of hope for someone else when I met Sadie.

I remember the first time that I saw her, as she and her siblings ran out of the car to pet us. Sadie and I were immediately drawn to one another. She was so happy and carefree and made everyone around her smile. She had such a hopeful outlook on life, despite suffering from Down Syndrome.
Sadie had a bit of trouble trying to mount me, at first. However, she was persistent and, for her, giving up was not an option. When she got on, I felt her tense up a bit, which was understandable since she had never been on a horse before.

During the first few minutes of the session, we were both on edge, and she hurt my ears when she thought she was going to fall. But, I took courage in how calm my team was and was able to channel that peace to Sadie. She reciprocated far better than most riders, and it gave me even more confidence.
The bond between Sadie and I grows stronger and stronger with each session, and I'm looking forward to conquering our future challenges together.

Comet's Story

Hello all. My name is Comet, and I've been here, at Reins of Life, working as a riding therapy horse for as long as anyone can remember. I love my home and what I do. I especially love little Amy. She's one of my smaller riders and has a hard time balancing and using both sides of her body at the same time. She and I met a few years ago. She was so young but filled with courage. She was hardly afraid of me or any of the other horses. However, she was quite shy around other people and barely spoke.
Once she got on my back, I felt her tremble, but I knew it was from her weak legs and not from fear. Poor thing, she couldn't help it. I could feel her start to slip and immediately adjusted myself and held her left side up. It worked, and for the rest of the ride, I tried my best to keep her from falling.
At the end of the session, some of the workers helped her down as she started to slip off. She and I were both a bit sweaty — me from holding Amy and her from holding on. We were both tired, but I knew that with the kind of courage and determination that she had, she was well on her way to becoming strong enough to hold herself up. She was happy and filled with hope, and I was happy for her.
Today, Amy is stronger than ever. I barely even have to hold her up anymore! When I see her car coming down the drive, I get so excited, and I'm filled with joy when she comes running to stroke my nose. She's no longer shy around people and talks up a storm with everyone else. She makes people laugh and makes me feel calm. I love her so much and can't wait to see what lies ahead for both of us.

Levi’s Story

Hi there! My name is Levi. I'm a thirteen-year-old paint horse, and I love my job. I was born and raised here at Reins of Life, and one of the many things that I do here is work as an adaptive riding therapy horse, helping boys and girls regain their confidence, self-respect, and hope.

Today was a special day for me because I got to meet this cool kid named  Conner. I noticed that Conner had a bit of trouble getting out of the car. He was just barely walking, and the twisted but soft lines on his face told me that he was anxious. It made me a bit anxious too. He leaned against the fence and held out his tender, shaking, little fingers for me to sniff. I didn't want him to be afraid. I let him pet me, and I tried not to step on his little toes. 

Pretty soon, everyone was helping him onto my back. He sat there like a sack of potatoes and was shaking. It hurt a bit, but I knew that he couldn't help it. We walked around for a while, and I could feel him getting more and more comfortable, almost with each stride. His breathing steadied, and he even loosened up a bit, which was a welcome relief since he was holding on to me as if for dear life. 

When the session was over, he slipped off like rag doll. It was an excellent first ride, as far as most first rides go. It made my day seeing Conner's face. He was grinning from ear to ear. He gave me a good rub on my shoulder, and I could hear him tell his parents that he couldn't wait for the next time. Neither can I, Conner. Neither can I.

Our New Home

Reins of Life is getting a new home! We are in the process of moving to a beautiful new location in Eastanollee, Ga. and have been busy getting the land ready. Grading has been done in preparation for a brand new covered arena, offices and living quarters have been renovated, and fences are going in!

Thanks to all the generous donors and volunteers who have helped us prepare our new home!