Category Archives: Events

Volunteer Training

Volunteer trainings are coming up! Did you sign up for a date??? Our first one will be Thursday, February 1, 2024 from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Our second date is Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 9:30 am – 12:30 am. Please contact Rebecca,, to sign up.

Horse Handler Training

If you are a horse handler, we hope you have signed up for a refresher course! Horse Handler dates are February 10, 2024 from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Also on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm. Please contact Linda to sign up,

We are excited to get our 2024 year underway. We have missed you all and can’t wait to see your smiling faces back up at the center. As expected, Rebecca and Linda will have a fun and informative training planned. Even though these are required, they are not to be missed!!!

Instructor In-Service

Xenophon is fortunate to have a large number of very talented instructors, occupational therapists, a physical therapists and a physical therapist assistant on staff. These dedicated professionals take their job seriously and commit many hours, beyond those spent teaching in the arena, to further their education and ensure that they are current on industry practices and standards. This includes maintaining industry certifications, attending conferences, and taking on-line courses.

In keeping with this commitment, our fabulous group of professionals gave up their Saturday morning and braved the rain and wind to attend an in-service training at the center. This training included sharing knowledge gained from workshops attended at national conference, honing skills on teaching the “team” (participant, volunteers, and horse handler), best practices for addressing challenges experienced during lessons and a riding component. Adhering to Xenophon’s belief that learning and therapy should be fun, a bit of competitive “Family Feud” got everyone vying for best answer on addressing lessons challenges. And what better way to thoroughly focus on the movement of the horse than to be blindfolded and have to rely on your sense of feel to figure out which horse you are on? Huge kudos to staff for planning a fun, interesting and challenging training. Kudos to our instructors and professionals for rising to the challenge and sharing their wealth of knowledge. These are just some of the ways that Xenophon continues to work to provide state-of-the-art services!

All Work and No Play…Isn’t Healthy!

Many folks aren’t aware of all the work that goes on behind the scenes at Xenophon. During our winter break, while we are not running lessons, staff are working as hard as ever. Administrative tasks are caught up on, fundraiser execution and prep are going full bore, instructors are planning for next year. The list is endless. Once in a while, we all need a break. This past Monday, the Xenophon staff stepped out to have some holiday fun at Glowfari, the beautiful light display at the Oakland Zoo. It was a glorious evening with fabulous displays. If you have not gone, we highly recommend it! And just so you know, you are never too old to sit on Santa’s lap. Of course, his lap was not quite big enough for all 10 of us. It was a much needed reprieve, complete with a Merry-go-round ride. We really “let our hair down!”

Scouts are Busy at Xenophon

Xenophon has been lucky to be the beneficiary of two scout Eagle Projects this fall. Our young volunteer, Capri Filippenko, took on the project of winterizing the footing in one of our small paddocks above the roundpen. This area is needed to house horses in the winter, but in year’s past it became a mud pit due to poor soil. Capri’s project included leveling of the area, coordinating with 2 of Xenophon’s “fix it” men for placement of retaining wall blocks, then calculating and ordering materials. Lastly, donning shovels and gloves, all the new footing had to be moved into the paddock, evenly spread and tamped down. We now have horses housed in that area and it has held up beautifully through the first rain.

Danny Goldwyn’s project was the building of a new large pasture pasture on the back hill area of the center. This was a huge undertaking, requiring the setting of wood posts, placement of t-posts, stringing of hot wire, installing gates and installing the solar charging panel.

We are incredibly grateful for these dynamic, hardworking young people and that they chose Xenophon as the recipient of the Eagle Scout projects. Thank you Danny and Capri! Our horses thank you as well!

2024 Drive-Thru Crab Feed!

WE ARE SOLD OUT!!!!!! A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO PURCHASED CRAB! Don’t forget, pickup is on Friday from 2:00pm – 6:00 by, at Xenophon (60 Don Gabriel Way, Orinda)

Join Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center for our 4th Annual Drive-Thru Crab Feed! Order online by February 4th. Pick-Up is from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm Friday, February 9th, at the barn, 60 Don Gabriel Way, Orinda.

Our Crab Feed Dinner for Two includes two fresh crabs, cleaned and cracked, a large Caesar salad with croutons and dressing, a Semifreddi’s baguette, and cookies… all bagged together for a luxurious feast with friends. If you need more crab, we offer an additional bag of crab that comes with two fresh crabs cleaned, cracked, and bagged separately. You can also add the outstanding “Boston style” clam chowder to your order. A real crowd pleaser, the soup is 32 oz of heavenly ambrosia. Treat yourself to a mouthwatering seafood banquet with all the comforts of home!

Dinner for Two: $100

2 Fresh Dungeness Crabs
Caesar Salad
Sourdough Baguette
Artisan Baked Cookies

Additional bag of Crab $60
Clam Chowder (32 oz) $25

Make selection below, Continue Shopping to return, add more!

Orders $185 and over will receive a bottle of wine to complete your meal!

Order online by Sunday, February 4th!

If you place an order, look for an email from us on Wednesday 2/7 with directions and a map for pick-up on Friday 2/9/24.

Thank you to our sponsors: Diablo Foods, Eric and Megan Lindberg.

We are proud to be a part of the Lamorinda community for 30 years, serving children, adults, and veterans with disabilities by providing a therapeutic place to enjoy both physical and mental benefits from our herd.

Tips for Change a Huge Success!

There is a tiny restaurant in San Ramon, doing REALLY big things. Every Monday, a day that the restaurant is closed, Gianni’s Italian Bistro opens it’s restaurant up to non-profits for a “Tips for Change” fundraiser. In a nutshell, the non-profit provides the wait staff for the night, invites all the diners who come to dinner, then Melanie and Gianni Bartoletti give the non-profit all the tips earned that night and 10% of the food sales. This tiny restaurant has awarded millions of dollars to their community.

Xenophon has been fortunate to participate in this amazing fundraiser for about 10 years. Members of our Board of Directors, husbands of board members, staff members, and volunteers all leave their day jobs to don an apron, grab some order pads, and figure out how to serve drinks and dinner without spilling on their customers. Good-natured razzing of servers by the customers who know them is all part of the evening fun. The best part of the evening is the amazing Italian food that comes from the kitchen.

This year, Xenophon raised $7,839!! A huge thank you goes out to our donor who matched funds up to the $3,000 for the evening. But every single tip and dinner purchased made a difference. You helped us reach our goal and then some! You also made the whole evening a lot of fun. And of course, a big thank you to all of our servers who worked so hard: Danielle, Greg, Lisa, Laura, Linda, Melissa, Peter, and Rebecca.

Giving Tuesday Goal Reached! Thank you to our donors!

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday. We certainly are deluged around the Thanksgiving holidays. Then, we add Giving Tuesday in there. While it certainly adds to the fray, it is also a huge benefit for non-profits. How great is a day where folks are made aware of all the wonderful work that is going on around them. We realize that people have many choices of well-deserving non-profits to donate to on that day. We are so incredibly grateful to all of our donors who chose Xenophon. Your dollars will go to directly benefit the life-changing services we offer: our Therapeutic Riding and Therapeutic Services program for children, our Operation Hooves on the Ground serving veterans, Connected Horse helping those with Alzheimer’s/dementia, and Alumni Camp, serving young adults. Thank you for helping make the magic happen at Xenophon. You are helping us change lives.

Xenophon wins numerous awards at the PATH International conference: Linda Parsons takes the International award!

Congratulations go out to our Barn and Facility Manager, Linda Parsons. Linda won the PATH International Equine Caretaker of the Year! Linda was first awarded Equine Caretaker for Region 11, then went on to be awarded the International title as well. This was no small feat, as Linda had some very stiff competition from the other regional winners. Long-time Xenophon volunteers remark that “the center’s horses and facilities have never been better, and a culture of continuous improvement is attributable to Linda’s focus on constant review and implementation of new practices and procedures to benefit the horses, as individuals or as a group. Customized exercise, feeding and treatment plans are developed as needed, and the volunteer barn staff is always made aware of each animal’s change in status to provide the best possible support.” Linda came on board with Xenophon in 2014. During that time she has expanded her knowledge ten-fold. Our horses have benefitted from knowledge, along with her gentle touch. We could not be more proud or grateful to have Linda overseeing the care of our horses.

The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International, is the governing body for therapeutic riding centers in the US. They set industry standards, provide certification for professionals, and accredit those centers meeting the pinnacle safety standards. Xenophon has been a premiere accredited center with Path for most of its existence.

Dr. Michael O’Brien

Each year, PATH holds a national conference. Included in that are awards for professionals within the industry, outstanding riders and veterans, outstanding horses, and awards for veterinarians who serve centers in their area. This year, in addition to Linda winning the International award, our veterinarian, Michael O’Brien won Veterinarian of the year for Region 11. Dr. O, as he is fondly called around the center, has been caring for the Xenophon horses free of charge for over 20 years. There are not enough words of thanks for all that Dr. O’Brien has done to keep the Xenophon herd healthy.


Our horse, Ozzie, also won Region 11 Therapy Horse of the Year. For those of you who know Ozzie, he is 25 and still going strong, loving his job and happily serving the many riders and participants that come through the center. He has been working at Xenophon for over 13 years. Ozzie is a character, and though small in stature he is bossman of the herd.

Xenophon is proud to continue to receive national recognition within our industry. In past years we have had an International Professional of the year, Region 11 Professional of the Year (twice), Region 11 and International Horse of the Year, Region 11 and International Junior Rider of the Year. It is an indication of the high quality of staff and programs that we offer.


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we would like to thank all of you have continued to support Xenophon and who have made it possible for us to do the important work we do for over 30 years.  We have continued to provide life-changing therapies for children with disabilities through our Therapeutic Riding program and our Therapeutic Services program, our Alumni Camp, our Veteran’s program, and our Alzheimer’s and Dementia program (Connected Horse). As you can see, we are working hard to meet the needs of our community and to change lives.

None of this work would be possible without the support of you, our donors and volunteers, who work so tirelessly alongside our staff and our horses.  You make our unique programs possible.  YOU are changing lives. 

But there is more work to be done.  We would like to continue to expand our veteran outreach and build funding for that program.  We need to continue to spread the word about Connected Horse so that more caregivers can find support as they try to navigate the difficult pathway through the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  As we do so, we need to provide additional staffing to that effort.  We also need to continue to provide the best possible care to our equine herd, and purchase much needed equipment, because without the horses, there would be no programs. 

This coming Tuesday, November 28th, is Giving Tuesday, a time when people show their support for the programs they love.  Please consider showing your support for Xenophon.  We have a donor who has committed to match any donated funds from that day, up to $3,000.  Please help us meet that goal so we can make the most of this incredible opportunity.  Perhaps your employer will match your donation.

Giving is easy, simply clink on the link below.  We will keep you posted on how we do!  Thank you for joining us in our efforts to provide our much-needed services.

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!