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.
Through a grant generously donated by the Lions club we introduce Lion’s Sergeant Pepper as the newest member of the Xenophon herd. Pepper is a 10-year-old bay Appaloosa Gelding. Coming from a reigning/roping background, therapeutic riding is all new to Pepper. That said during our initial testing we were pleasantly surprised by his near non-reaction to the many therapeutic toys we presented to him. Curious and playful yet he approaches his job in a very calm manner. Pepper adores people, has an abundance of character and has been eager to take on these new challenges. He has a willingness to work and is a quick learner. Standing at 15.1 hands with his beautiful appaloosa eyes and light dusting of white speckles, he is an eye catcher.
We like to introduce you to our newest herd members Teddy and Dakota.
Teddy, a 20 year old Quarter Horse gelding, is as sweet as sweet can be. In his prior years Teddy was used as a trail/pleasure horse and has also been used for lessons for children and adults. Teddy will be a great addition to our herd with his playful and easy going personality. His solid gaits will make him a favorite mount for our independent riders. He passed his therapy testing in record time. We are very grateful to Teddy’s owner, Sandy Johnson, for the use of this wonderful horse.
Dakota is a 12 year old Quarter Horse gelding, standing proud at 15.3h. Before his time at Xenophon he was used as a trial and a pleasure horse for the whole family. Having experience with working with a child with disabilities he passed his testing with flying colors. His sweet and easy going personality is a plus and Dakota enjoys hanging out with his herd mates. He has already become a favorite for our students, staff and volunteers.
Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center’s ambassador, Wimbledon, joined with SonRise Equestrian Center’s miniature horse, Blackie, in brightening the day of children at USCF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital in Oakland last Tuesday, August 9, 2016. The large black Friesian and the tiny black Mini presented a comical contrast as they allowed themselves to be hugged, stoked, and nuzzled by over a dozen children. True ambassadors they were as they stood stock still while surrounded by wheelchairs, IV stands and whizzing BART trains in the heart of downtown Oakland. While Wimbledon presented a bold picture with his long mane decked out in marigolds and gold ribbon, Blackie stole the show in his bumblebee costume, complete with yellow and black striped leggings, wings and antennae. Xenophon was privileged to join SonRise on their monthly visit to Children’s Hospital. For many of these children, especially those on extended hospital stays due to their illness, and for their parents, the monthly visit is a highlight. It certainly is a much needed distraction from the trials and tribulations facing these families.
You may have noticed a new face at the barn. Bella, a 13 year-old chocolate palomino Quarter Horse mare is here on loan from Kerynn Gianotti. Bella will be undergoing training over the next 30 days to see if she has the “right stuff” to be a therapy horse. Bella has done pleasure and trail riding, participated in an array of clinics, and recently served her family as a wonderful all-around mount. She has settled in well to the Xenophon barn and seems willing to start on her new adventure here at the center.
Over the past few years, a tradition has begun of having our Xenophon instructors do some type of demonstration at our student horse show. Our students rarely get to see their instructors ride, and it is a treat for them see us on horseback. It provides a great example to our riders and the opportunity to show some of the wonderful things that can be done with horses. It also is a chance to showcase the training and talent present in our Xenophon horses. This year, 4 instructors did a Quadrille, which is a pattern of precise, synchronized movements done to music. Melissa Maker, Christine Raddeck and Mari Parino, joined by Trini Gantner, a Xenophon volunteer, partnered with Ozzie, Dinero, Starlight and Ruby, for a wonderful Quadrille demonstration. Starlight and Ruby, who are both in their 20’s, showed that they still have what it takes and were not about to let 2 younger geldings show them up. Dinero demonstrated that even a horse trained in Western reining can transform into a dressage horse. And Ozzie, once again showed just how versatile he is, from lesson horse, to driving horse, to dressage horse. Our Quadrille team will be taking their show on the road, doing a demonstration at the Moraga Valley Horseman’s Association event, Pumpkins and Ponies, on Sunday, October 18, 2015.
Those of you have been up to the center since we opened for 2015 will have noticed some new faces around the barn. Xenophon is grateful to have the use of two fabulous new horses. Ranger, an 18 year-old Palomino Morgan gelding arrived at the center in late January and is on loan to us from Roxanne Smith. Ranger is a big, very playful guy who seems very happy in his new job.
He loves people and seeks out attention. His curious disposition is endearing but has also made it necessary to remove all fly masks and halters from the gates, as his favorite thing to do it is play with them until he can get them off and then sling them around his paddock! Ranger is a great size for our taller riders and will be replacing Dandie in our herd.
Ruby, a 20+ years Quarter Horse mare, is as sweet as sweet can be. She comes to us with wonderful experience, having worked for years for SonRise Equestrian Foundation. She has been an all around show horse, taking her young owner, MacKenzie, to many shows throughout her riding career, with a trophy room of blue ribbons to show for it. Ruby’s smooth gaits will make her a favorite mount. She passed her therapy testing in record time and is already working in lessons.
She is also well on her way to becoming a hippotherapy horse, having picked up on long lining in a flash. We are very grateful to Ruby’s owners, MacKenzie and Laurie Gibbs, for the use of this wonderful mare.
The center has added a new equine team member. With the registered name of “Mr. Hollywood Cash”, Dinero, as he is called, is an 10 year-old Quarter Horse gelding. He is on loan to us from Ann Branagh, who has also graciously allowed us the use of King David. Dinero is a gentle soul who seems to have been made for therapy work. He passed his tests in the shortest amount of time on record and with flying colors. He began working in lessons on February 25th and is fast becoming a favorite mount for all types of riders, who love his flashy palomino paint color and his beautiful blue eye. Our sincere thanks go to Ann Branagh for the use of her special horses and her support of our center.