Author Archives: Jean Johnstone

Celebrating our Volunteers & Retiring Instructors/Therapists

We get an opportunity to do something wonderful, put our week in perspective, be a part of a family, we give all our participants a welcoming, safe place to be themselves, we give them a team, a smile, we give them control that they don’t always have in other aspects of their lives …Thank You to our amazing Volunteers! We gathered together for the first time in 2 years to celebrate our amazing Volunteers and give a special send-off to our retiring Instructors…we tried to match their passion, humor, and energy! Thank you to Diablo Foods for a delicious lunch, Loard’s Ice Cream (Orinda) for a show-stopper dessert, and Janet for our Martinelli toasts!

Thank you to our Volunteers who bring “family” to Xen every week…welcoming our participants with a smile, enveloping them with a caring team and an attitude of “be who you are”. And we thank our families and participants for sharing their joy, and our equine partners who teach us how to bring unconditional love.

We Need All of You to Make it Work!

Fall Fund-a-Need & Online Auction

Fall Fundraiser Kickoff is Friday, October 8th at 4:00pm and concludes on Saturday, October 23rd

2021 Horse Show Week(s)

SUMMER FUN at CAMP!

Two groups of campers for a week at Xenophon…jam packed with activities! Of course they rode their favorite Xennie, and also learned how to play Musical Stalls…think musical chairs on steroids! Ride a 1000lb. horse in a circle until the music stops, steering through twist & turns to squeeze into a rectangular space without bumping heads or getting a tail slap!  Our horses were great sports through all the games, including bobbing for apples and painting modern art abstracts with their campers. More paint flowed for their succulent pony planters and everyone’s favorite…tie-dyed camp shirts!

They worked all week on their badge – Horse Sense – about how horses communicate, their body language, and herd dynamics. Not only did they observe our herd and discuss the details, but they all donned ears and tails to act out scenarios and get the feel for typical herd interactions. There was time for creativity each day, plus artwork, games, a photo booth, cooking horse cookies, peer interaction, mic drops, and just being a kid!

As challenges continue, we’re grateful for our parents and donors who made Summer Camp Fun possible! Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who helped share the memories with our campers and bring our plans to life! And speaking of plans, Thank You Rebecca, Jen, Hillary, Lindsay, Barbara, Mimi, Danielle, Rachel, Linda for designing a creative & flexible schedule that kept everyone engaged and the smiles flowing!  

Judy Lazarus, our Founder

A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered. The Lazarus Family would like to invite family and friends to attend funeral services on Thursday, July 15th at 11am, to be held at Santa Maria Church in Orinda. A reception will follow.

In Judy’s honor, the family has set up a memorial fund and if anyone is so inclined, you can make a donation to support Xenophon and continue Judy’s passion to provide life-changing experiences for our vulnerable community.

Support Xenophon through the Judy Lazarus Memorial Fund
You can also mail a check to Xenophon TRC at PO Box 16, Orinda, CA 94563




The Family that Judy Built

Our Founder, Judy Lazarus 1942 – 2021

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we say good bye to Judy but the family that she built at Xen will last forever. Her warm and giving personality enveloped everyone involved, and her passion was endless. Judy was a horsewoman who understood the healing power of horses and saw a need for an underserved community. She started with a borrowed horse, and two students and with her extraordinary leadership, grew Xenophon to over 60 participants a week. Her story of Xenophon started years before she broke ground in Orinda, digging post holes with a couple hearty friends, and continued as she embraced new friends with her vision of a joyful, fun, safe place for all of us…kids, volunteers, adults, and families…to reap the physical & mental benefits of sharing time with horses. We thank her for the foresight to set up Xen for success, to ensure its sustainability through the people involved, but her legacy is our caring culture where Joy and Family are always the words used to describe how someone feels about Xenophon. She touched so many lives, every one forever changed, forever better.

In Judy’s honor, the family has set up a memorial fund and if anyone is so inclined, you can make a donation to support Xenophon and continue Judy’s passion to provide life-changing experiences for our vulnerable community.

Support Xenophon through the Judy Lazarus Memorial Fund
You can also mail a check to Xenophon TRC at PO Box 16, Orinda, CA 94563




Our Alumni Make Perfect Horse Sense!

Camp Alumni, started in 2020, provides a weekly opportunity for our alumni to enjoy Xenophon while working on their horse skills, teamwork, peer interaction, ranch skills, badges, and more! Their latest badge – Horse Sense, is all about how horses communicate, their body language, and herd dynamics. Hillary & Rebecca came up with fun exercises to experience what our horses are feeling or saying. They put on horse ears and tails and mimicked their favorite horse being angry, bored, curious, and even relaxed & fearful. Eight body parts to read! Then layer on the fact that horses like to be part of a herd, which has one leader and the rest fall into a pecking order below. That can shift on any given day as they test each other, or become buddies. Thankfully horses never hold a grudge!
Our alumni also started a beautification project on the sensory trail… planting succulents in the spiffed up gold bathtub! And on the last day, in front of their parents, they rode their new pattern together and practiced their communication skills using the microphone to share what they learned and enjoyed during this session
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Last Day to buy Diamond Raffle tickets is 5/31! WE HAVE A WINNER!

How did you spend your Spring Break?!

We spent our break diving into a few COVID postponed maintenance work around the center. Of course it was like tackling your own home to-do list, it grew five minutes after starting and as soon as you open the wall you realize that the job is going to be bigger than expected!