Author Archives: Jean Johnstone

Summer Camp Smiles

This year we mixed it up and brought new experiences and creativity to all our campers. Of course our horses are always the main attraction and along with riding lessons, our campers practiced leading their horse through an obstacle course, mixing up feed and supplements (and why), ranking scary objects from their horse’s perspective, horse anatomy, horse musical stalls, and understanding the non-verbal horse communication cues.

Then we added in two guest artists who refreshed our creativity for all our senses. Katie Shaw brought her Dragon Child characters, drawings, heroes and hand-made puppets which engaged our campers on many levels, including one camper who started her own hero story complete with drawings! We discussed what superpower you and your horse may have and later made hero sashes to take home.

Jocie Percell, Creative Vibes Music Therapy, arrived with egg shakers for all, getting the juices flowing, our voices, and our hips! Using her voice and guitar, she engaged us with different types of music and how they made us feel. Then we brought in the horses and our campers played to them, watching their reactions…from curious to bouncing to the beat. Our herd loved their rhythm!

Add in a nature trail ride, learning about native plants at Xen, forming their own seed balls to plant, art, bubbles, face painting, and the Golden Gate Garrisson who gave the Star Wars touch to our badge ceremony.

Check out lots more Summer Camp Smiles …including new buddies smiles, horse smiles, and the greatest volunteers in the world smiles!


We have an exciting lineup of extremely immersive experiences to bid on during our Live Auction! YOU can swim freely with dolphins for a week, indulge in Napa wine, wine, wine, and culinary delights paired specifically with more wine, head to Nashville for a week of southern hospitality, and make yourself at home at a 16th Century French Chateau! OR maybe you prefer a road trip down the California coast, up to Tahoe, golfing at Pebble Beach, OR a family day at Xenophon with our herd! Whatever your interest, we have a journey for YOU!

Check out all our LIVE AUCTION LOTS!

Drive-thru Crab Feed is SOLD OUT!

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT! If you placed an order, look for an email from us on Wednesday with directions and a map for pickup on Friday 2/24/23.

We heard your requests – you didn’t want to miss out on a Bay Area favorite with the family – Crab Feed! You can enjoy our beloved winter event…we’ll put together your fresh Crab, Caesar salad, Semifreddi’s baguette, and dessert so all you do is swing by our center, grab your Feed Bags and head to your kitchen table, a picnic on the waterfront, or backyard firepit with friends!

Get your Crab fix and support Xenophon at the same time! Order now by 2/19/23!


Order by Sunday, Feb 19th

Pickup on Friday, Feb 24th at our facility, 60 Don Gabriel Way, Orinda between 2pm – 6pm

Crab Feed Dinner for 2 – includes 2 fresh crabs cleaned & cracked; a large Caesar Salad with croutons and dressing; Semifreddi’s baguette; and cookies…all bagged together for an easy feast without the crowds.

Additional bag of Crab – 2 fresh crabs cleaned, cracked and bagged separately

Clam Chowder – Back by popular demand! 1 quart of fresh-made “Boston” style Clam Chowder (32oz)

Orders $185 and over…we’ll add a Bottle of White Wine to complete your feast!

Thank you to our sponsors – Diablo Foods, Semifreddi’s and artisanal bakers!

Not a fan of crab, but I'd like to donate to your amazing programs!

Special Resource for You & Your Family

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

and as you gather with family and friends over this holiday season, we wanted to tell you about a resource to share.

A loved one and their care partner (spouse, adult child, sibling, friend) may be living with the challenges of memory loss, impacting their quality of life. If so, did you know that Xenophon, in partnership with Connected Horse, facilitates therapeutic equine-guided workshops focusing on memory loss and the underlying relationship challenges?
These workshops are based on a three year research study conducted at Stanford University and UC Davis, and are designed to reduce stress, improve sleep patterns, and enhance communication, all through interactions with our therapy horses. If you don’t have the time for this yet, you can still lessen your stress levels by playing FM카지노.

The four week workshops benefit both the person living with dementia and their primary care partner, while providing a new shared experience, a new opportunity for social connection.

 “I really can’t explain it, but [my relationship with my wife] has changed, I don’t know if she’s less anxious because I’m less stressed or if I have less stress because she’s less anxious. All I know is that since we worked with the horses, our relationship is much better.”  – Connie, CH Participant

  • Horse experience is not a requirement
  • Participants engage with our trained horses from the ground, no riding
  • Participants must be ambulatory
  • FREE to participate; however donations are gratefully accepted!

Please share this information as a family and contact us for additional details, to ask questions, or send a donation.

 “I really can’t explain it, but [my relationship with my wife] has changed, I don’t know if she’s less anxious because I’m less stressed or if I have less stress because she’s less anxious. All I know is that since we worked with the horses, our relationship is much better.” – CH Participant

“Working with horses has helped bring me an emotional awareness, which helps deal with stress and feelings of sadness.  I better understand nonverbal communication and find gratitude in my life. It’s also a shared experience that my mother and I can both fall back on when times are hard.” – CH Participant

Blockbuster Hollywood Thank You!

Thank you for all your support for our first Fundraiser Gala in two years! It was a blockbuster, raising over $122,000, with the help of a huge cast of supporters – gala attendees, sponsors, volunteers, donors, streaming watchers, auction winners, families, staff, wineries, and our entire passionate community. Check out our heartfelt guest speakers and hear Kaleo’s true words – I Am Not A Disability, See Me For My Strengths!

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)


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!