Author Archives: Jim Pire

2017 Gala Photos

This year we’re making it easy for you to have your own high-quality photos from the gala while supporting Xenophon at the same time! The Gala Photo Booth images are being made available at the highest possible quality, and will print beautifully. Better still, after the cost of making the prints, the rest of the purchase price goes directly to Xenophon. If you have questions about the process, feel free to email your photographer.

The photos from this year’s gala as well as many other Xenophon events can be found at

It’s really hard to pick favorites from this year’s shots, but here are a few of your humble photographer’s favorites.

Thanks you all for participating!

“Tips For Change” Fundraiser at Gianni’s A Huge Success

On Monday, October 3rd, Xenophon was fortunate to be able to participate, yet again, in Gianni’s Italian Bistro’s “Tips For Change” fundraiser. Gianni’s, which is normally closed on Mondays, opens its restaurant to local non-profits. We provide the wait staff and invite the guests, then we keep all the tips and Gianni’s donates 10% of the food sales. The restaurant was bubbling and we packed the house with friends and families of Xenophon. While we can vouch that the food was fantastic, many joked that the wait staff should keep their day jobs. Our amazing servers, Mark Caron (Board Member), Danielle Coburn (Program Director), Leslie DeBoer (Board Member), Jean Johnstone (Board Member), Mari Parino (Executive Director), Christine Raddeck (Barn Manager), Steve Siljestrom (Board Member), and Ron Wichmann (Volunteer) did an excellent job of stepping out of their usual role into that of waiter. They must have seen to their guests every need, as we raised over $3,200.00!

A huge thank you goes to our servers, our guests, and of course, Melanie and Gianni Bertoletti for this wonderful opportunity. If you missed the fundraiser, please go try the restaurant and support Melanie and Gianni in their commitment to help local non-profits.

Gianni’s Italian Bistro, 2065 San Ramon Valley Blvd, San Ramon, CA 94583 (925)820-6969

View the rest of the images here.

2016 Horse Show

Xenophon’s annual horse show is the biggest event of the year for the center, and one that is awaited with excitement and anticipation. For months, riders work to hone their skills for that special class at the horse show in which they will be participating. We had an opening ceremonies class, a hippo parade, Walk/Trot and Novice and Advanced Trail courses. Last but not least were our dressage riders. Every child knows their horse will be freshly bathed and braided with shining ribbons. They know their family and friends will be there watching them. And they know a trophy awaits. Oh, the smiles!

The day is big for riders and families alike. From the BBQ lunch to the between-class demonstrations, it is a day filled with fun and food. This year did not disappoint. Our BBQ team, with the help of Mike Miller and Mike Christensen from the Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery, joined by several board members and volunteers, cooked up over 150 hamburgers and 75 hotdogs. Julian Passmore was on hand to sell his specially designed “purple horse” T-shirts, the proceeds from which he donated to Xenophon. Between classes, our audience was entertained by members of Zulu’s TLC Agility group. Numerous members of the club brought their canine companions and their equipment to show off the enthusiasm their dogs have for jumping fences, leaping through tires, running through tunnels, and weaving through poles. The audience participation was the best, as everyone counted down the required 5 seconds that these energetic canines have to spend sitting on a “table”.

Next up were are resident “horse whisperers” Danielle Coburn and Christine Raddeck, who did a lovely liberty demonstration with our therapy horses, Ranger and Ozzie. Danielle and Christine showed how close the bond between horse and handler can be, by having Ranger and Ozzie perform a series of patterns in the arena without any tack, simply using hand signals. It was quite the highlight at the end to see the horses come to their handlers when called and bow to the audience.

A day this big would not happen without the help of many, many people. From the set-up to the take-down, many hands made light work. Over 70 of Xenophon’s regular volunteers spent the day sidewalking and handling horses. Other volunteers arrived at 7:00 am to braid manes and tails. Members of Boy Scout Troop 810 came to help park cars. The National Charity League provided snacks for our volunteers, and mothers and daughters from the local club came to work for the day as well. Clipped Wings, a group of United Airlines flight attendants came to help prepare food. Members of Xenophon’s Board of Directors were here to greet guests. The United Steel Workers Union at the Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery purchased the trophies.

Of course, the day would not have been complete without our resident photographer, Jim Pire, who was here to capture the magic and spirit of the day. The images clearly capture what a special event this is, and how truly magical it is for our participants. Horse show pictures can be viewed and purchased(!) at

Your photographer humbly suggests you purchase a few large prints. He thinks the images look best at 8×10 inches or more. Basically, the LARGER, the better!

Any profits from the sale of these images goes directly to Xenophon Therapeutic Riding.

2016 Gala Photos

Thanks to all who ventured into the Xenophon Gala Photo Booth at our 2016 Gala. As you will see from the results, a great time was had by all brave participants.

Click here for 2016 Gala photos!

This year we’re making it easy for you to have your own high-quality photos of the gala while supporting Xenophon at the same time! The Gala images are being made available at the highest possible quality, and will print beautifully. After the cost of making the prints, 100% of the rest of the purchase price goes directly to Xenophon. If you have questions about the process, feel free to email your photographer.

Here is a small sampling of the fabulous photos from the 2016 Xenophon Gala!




Xenophon Horse Show 2015

View the rest of the photos here.

It was a day of smiles and laughter, full of palpable energy.  Children, families and donors thronged to the center to watch parade, games and dressage classes, as well as demonstrations

For those who have never attended the annual Xenophon Horse Show, you have missed out on one of the highlights of the year.  Over eighty percent of Xenophon’s riders participate each year in the horse show.  It is their opportunity to demonstrate the strength and skills they have mastered throughout the year.  Be the accomplishment big or small, the applause is no less great as each child takes their moment to shine in the spotlight.  And what a treat for each one to see their families and friends turning out to cheer them on.

The preparations started months in advance, with staff carefully planning classes, sprucing up the center and transforming the place to regal show grounds with the help of pop-up tents, chairs and tables loaned to the center.  Over 70 volunteers graciously showed up at 7:30 in the morning, with several arriving much earlier than that to make sure our Xen horses were polished, shined and braided.  The Xenophon Board of Directors planned a BBQ lunch for all the attendees.  Mike Miller and Mike Christiansen, from Phillips 66, volunteered their time to bring the P66 industrial BBQ and head up the BBQ team, joined by board members Bryan Goldwyn, Trudy Presser and husbands, Ron Wichmann and Scott Parsons.  The Rolling Hills Chapter of the National Charities League (NCL), with their teams of mothers and daughters provided delicious baked goods and coffee for our bake sale and helped staff our check-in table and baked goods table as well as helping with crafts and helmets for our riders.  They were joined by members of the Lamorinda Chapter of NCL.  Bridget and Kiki Immel generously donated our trophies, and helped pass them out to all of our classes.  Those trophies are coveted by our riders.

Traffic control was a breeze with year, with the ability to park cars in the pasture across the street and with the help of Jim Taylor, Ron Bass, Brian Mathews and Keith Donahue.  A new group joined us this year.  Clipped Wings, a group of retired United Airlines stewardesses, came to help prepare food for our donor tent.  We were so grateful for their time and expertise.  A new line of “Xen wear” was launched at the show with the help of Julie Taylor and Sue Bass.   If you were not there to purchase your new navy hoodie or T-shirt, some are still available.

The day sailed by seamlessly, made even more interesting thanks to the effort of our MC, Michelle Bushong.  A highlight of the day was our class in which our instructors had to be the students and our students got to be the instructors, challenging our instructors with a ribbon race and making sure their equitation was correct!  Those commands of “sit up tall” and “put your heels down” sounded very familiar.  It was exciting to see some of our instructors ride a Quadrille, which is a group of 4 riders performing precise movements to music.  Of course, our horses were an integral part of the show, being their dependable selves during the entire day, with many performing in 6 classes.

A big thank you goes to so many people who worked behind the scenes, cleaning, helping with planning, donating or loaning all the supplies we needed, setting up, taking down and hundreds of other jobs that were done before someone could blink an eye.  It was a hugely successful day for all involved.  Don’t miss it next year!


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.

2015 Gala Photos

Oh what a night! The evening sparkled from the bling on the guests to the candelabras in the banquet room. The fun started before guests even made it through the front door by a fabulous duet, Then it was on to photos with a John Wayne cut-out or our own Garth Brooks look-alike, Ron Cheatham. Shopping galore awaited at the silent auction and most everyone was rewarded at the wine toss. The evening program was opened by “Angels On Stage” a theatrical group for children with special needs. Of course, the highlight of the entire evening was the presentation by our Xenophon riders, Julian Passmore, Patrick Kirbach and Ben Yoklavich, who stole the hearts of the crowd. Our auctioneers, Daniel Parino and Ron Angold kept the crowd entertained and the paddles raised. The evening carried on with folks taking the dance floor to the music of “Tone Pony”. Oh, what a night! A big thank you goes to our attendees, our donors, and our sponsors. Also, thank you to our committee who put on such a wonderful affair. Here are a few shots from this year’s event. View the rest of the pictures here.

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The Xenophon Gala was a Night to Remember

What a wonderful night at the races! Xenophon’s sold-out Gala was a huge success with horse races and an elegant, fancy hat contest. From the roar of the crowd, it was apparent that a good time was had by all. You can also see from the happy faces that it was a Kentucky Derby winner.

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View many more fun images from the fabulous event by clicking here.