In December of 2011, Xenophon lost a very special volunteer to a brave battle with cancer. Alyson Sayuk Rodriguez, daughter of Wanda and John Sayuk, had been a horse handler and exercise rider for the center for many years. Each year since, Alyson’s employer, Barney & Barney, has held a memorial walk and fundraiser, with the proceeds benefitting Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center. This year, rather than just a walk, Barney & Barney spiced things up with a “high-heeled” relay race, followed by a pizza lunch. It was a fun-filled afternoon and a lively, fitting memorial to Alyson. Thank you Barney & Barney for remembering this special lady and for allowing Xenophon to be the fortunate beneficiary of this fundraiser. We are truly grateful.
King David started his new work as a therapy horse, carrying around his first student last week. He passed his certification with flying colors. From the day he stepped out of the trailer he has taken to his new life at Xenophon and acts as if he was born to do this job. His affectionate personality has endeared him to students, volunteers and staff. Thank you Anne Branagh for the use of this lovely horse. He is a wonderful addition to our herd.
Xenophon was fortunate to benefit yet again this year from participation in Week of Caring. Week of Caring is a coordinated effort between the Volunteer Center of the East Bay and local businesses, designed to assist non-profit organizations. The non-profits compile a list of needed projects and the companies allow their employees paid leave from work to provide the necessary man-power.
As in years past, we had a wonderful group from Chevron come out to Xenophon. They built solid doors to go on the front of our hay shed in order to keep the hay dry through the winter. The timing could not have been better, as the doors were in place for Saturday’s surprise rain storm. The group also built a small shed adjacent to one of the pipe stalls to allow for a dry place to park our tractor away from the mice and other varmint that insist on taking up residence in the carburetor. Thank you to all who came with the Chevron group and worked so hard. Thank you to Chevron for their continued support of the local community.
A big thank you to the Lescure Company for taking on the project to install our backflow device on our water line, complete with arranging inspections and certification.
Thank you to Millette Landscaping for the incredible amount of weed removal and spraying they did, all at no cost.
Keeping our horses happy and healthy in order to do their job can be a challenge. This is especially true in finding a proper fitting saddle. That issue has been solved for two of horses thanks to Carmi Weininger at Reactor Panel Saddles. Dandie was the lucky recipient of one of these amazing saddles a number of months ago, and is benefiting from Carmi’s experienced hand and eye with a newly adjusted fit. We are quite sure Ozzie’s chronic back stiffness will be solved with a new reactor panel saddle that was donated to us. Thank you Carmi and Reactor Panel Saddles.
Annie Retired: Our therapy horses always become part of the family and work their way into our hearts. That is why it is always so hard to let them go. But, this is a difficult job and sometimes the horses just get tired of it. Such is the case with Annie. She was letting us know that she did not want to do this job any more. A big thank you to Laura Fend for the use of this beautiful mare. She carried many a hippotherapy patient and therapeutic riding student with patience and grace. Annie has moved to Summit Ranch where 3 ladies now have the joy of sponsoring and riding her on the trails of Mt. Diablo. (pic already on internet)
The New Kid in Town – King David: Filling Annie’s shoes will not be easy, but we have just the guy to do it. King David arrived at the center 2 weeks ago and has not missed a beat. He stepped out of the trailer with a calm demeanor and has acted like he belonged here ever since. He has curiously watched lessons and fit in well with the herd. King David comes to us through a generous loan by Ann Branagh. He is a 22 year-old Arab/Quarter cross who has served many a rider as a lesson horse, carrying some over cross-country courses, and others through many a horse show. He is currently in training and has passed the first stage of his testing. There are two more stages to go and we feel confident he will pass with flying colors.
Our Riders: Each and every one of our students is special and their accomplishments are celebrated no matter how big or small. From the blinking of an eye for “walk on” to success in getting a ring on a pole. Everyday at the center these special children make us smile and our hearts soar by the accomplishments they make. This week was no exception. For the first time ever, one of our more independent riders actually cantered his horse, by himself, with no leader and no sidewalkers. The neighbors must have heard the hoots and hollers of the volunteers that followed. Another independent rider jumped crossed poles all by herself. Two of our hippo patients graduated up to a group session due to their progress. Another student who had never verbalized use the word “go” to get his horse to move. These miracles happen every week at the center. It it what makes Xenophon so special for the riders, the staff AND the volunteers.
Please fill out card and return by February 27th:
PO Box 16
Orinda, CA 94563
Please add each person individually
Please help our children with a donation of $500.00 which will pay for ten therapeutic riding lessons.
Your donation of $250.00 will provide care for our horses for two weeks.
Your donation of $100.00 will pay for two lessons for one of our riders.
Xenophon’s volunteers are of every age and come from all walks of life. We are fortunate to have a number of teenage volunteers that also come to the center each week to give of their time. Many come to fulfill their school’s community service hour requirements, but stay well beyond the needed hours for they, too, are drawn in to the magic of special needs children and horses. Each of these teens brings energy and laughter to the program. In light of the stressful work schedule of high school students these days, the hours given to Xenophon are especially appreciated. Each year, Xenophon recognizes one of these teens who seems to go above and beyond the norm in terms of hours of time given, jobs done, and overall helpfulness within the program. This year, Rachel Ziegler was chosen by the Xenophon Staff as the outstanding teen volunteer of the year. Our staff says,
“Rachel is always quick to jump in where needed and take on any task no matter how trivial or how dirty she might get.”
“Rachel has an amazing level of maturity about her. She always gives her all to the job”.
Congratulations, Rachel, and thank you for all you do for Xenophon!