Xenophon came to be because of several factors. My husband and I have an autistic son, so we were very involved with the disabled community. I had ridden horses since I was a child, so knew the benefits they held for both able-bodied and disabled people. After volunteering at a therapeutic program, I realized that we needed one in our area. So, why not try to start one?
Xenophon began at Carol Dwinell’s Black Point Farm in Martinez in August of 1993, with one horse and two students. Carol had lovely quiet vaulting horses that she allowed us to use for our fledgling program. We operated two days per week and had four lessons. We were lucky to have volunteers who loved what they were doing, so word got out that helping our disabled children on horses was a rewarding and enjoyable thing to do.
In 1996, we moved to our present location in Orinda, where we lease three acres from PG&E. With the help of several strong and talented people, we built the basic structures that we needed. In the following years, with the help of Chevron, we have added such amenities as a viewing deck and wooden shed for the horses. In 2011, with the help of many generous donors and Clark Construction, in addition to McGuire and Hester, Contra Costa Electric and The Lescure Company, we built a covered arena. In 2012, we made the transition to a year-round program
Xenophon now serves 54 children per week, giving individual lessons suited to their unique abilities. We are proud to be an accredited center under the national governing body: THe Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). Xenophon received 100% at its last accreditation visit. This is based on adhering to over 100 different criteria set up by PATH’s National accreditation committee. We are the ONLY accredited center serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. We have also received two national awards: our student, Anthony Fusaro (RIP), was voted National Youth Rider of the Year and our horse, Cocoa, was voted National Therapy Horse of the year.
We now have eight PATH registered instructors and a licensed physical therapist on staff. Xenophon has come a long way in our 20 years. We are proud of what we have done and expect to continue to provide a challenging and worthwhile program for our disabled children.