Summer Sizzles By

As the leaves begin to change and the weather starts to cool, the Ride for Joy barn reflects on the marvelous summer that has simmered to an end. 

The instructors provided life-changing lessons to 23 participants, including three new riders and one who returned after several years away.  Parents of riders served by RFJ's four legged heroes reported seeing increased independence at home, improved ability to follow instructions, increased physical strength and reduced anxiety. 

In an effort to lessen the time new rider applicants are on the wait list and reduce its overall size, evaluations have been provided prior to each session in 2018.  Spring evals moved five individuals to the Active Rider List and Summer provided three evaluations.  New applicants kept rolling in, though, and 12 applications were received during the session.

The annual All Abilities Camp brought 12 participants ranging in age from four to 19 to the barn for the traditional therapeutic riding, stable management for equine education, art, and of course...water games! The days ended with relaxing reading under the beautiful trees and also fun camp songs sung by amazing volunteers. Laughter and smiles made the heat of each day fade from focus. 

As the fall session slips by and the end of 2018 nears, the staff at RFJ are truly grateful to be part of such a wonderful program. It is tough to call the time spent at the barn a "job" and the stories and testimonies often heard from participants and parents is proof.

RFJ wants to thank you for believing in the mission to provide equine assisted activities to individuals with special needs and veterans. Your support makes the best "job" in the world possible and changes countless lives through the horse and human relationship.

May your fall be filled with crisp air, pumpkin spice, the excitement of the holiday season nearing and lots of joy.

From Our Hooves to Yours, 

The Ride for Joy Family

Lakota Leaves Lives Changed

Lakota, a flashy paint mare who graced RFJ with her sensitivity for four years, has retired from the barn.  She was known by riders, volunteers and staff for her responsiveness to the lightest cues while maintaining a quietness despite the wildest of games and activities around her.  

Many riders fell completely in love with Lakota, calling her "my horse" and requesting to ride her each session.  She helped all of her riders achieve many riding goals as well as gain confidence and strength.  

Lakota's experience and success at Ride for Joy are likely to make her a perfect fit in her new home.  Her new owner, a long time horse person, had injuries that made riding difficult to continue.  The rider needed a solid mount on which to regain sureness and skill horseback and Lakota fit the bill.

Though no one at RFJ wanted to see her go, everyone is excited for Lakota's new job continuing to help riders reach their highest potential.

Many thanks to Terri Manning for supporting RFJ by leasing Lakota to the program.

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Spring Rains Can't Dampen RFJ Fun

Spring at the barn held at much fun as changes in the weather.  Despite the first week of lessons being canceled due to the cold, riders new and experienced, young and old, enjoyed the blooming surroundings of Emmett from atop some great horses.  

Five prospective riders completed evaluations, allowing them to move into the active rider pool.  Two new TR students and three new veterans joined 17 previous riders to start the year out strong.

The 3rd annual Gala was a roaring success, raising the goal amount of $50,000 thanks to amazing supporters and donors.  Staff and attendees enjoyed the 20's theme, awesome pasta dinners, and lively entertainment, all for a great cause of supporting Ride for Joy.

May is field trip season at RFJ and this year continued that tradition with groups from Council Elementary School's Special Education class and Union High School.  The kids from Council endured a two and a half hour van drive to make it to the barn but teachers and students alike expressed the trip being more than worth the time.  They enjoyed brushing Julius, RFJ's horse mannequin, learning equine anatomy, creating horse puppets, and, of course, riding!  One student excitedly repeated "I love Bella" throughout lunch.  All of the students colored their puppets to look like their horses with one student diligently referencing a photograph of Lakota to ensure all of her paint markings were just right.

Students from Union High School in Nampa were provided a unique field trip experience to fit their school focus of experiential learning focused on career readiness.  Each student participated in volunteer training, a barn tour, and an equine careers game.  The staff at UHS hope to bring students to the barn to volunteer in the fall and potentially have a student or two intern with staff.

The second annual R&R Retreat for veterans brought abundant experiences for participants, staff and volunteers thanks, again, to generous donors as well as community professionals who taught fly fishing and tying, archery, yoga, stress management, and psychological health.  By far, the favorite activity was riding, of course.  The stunning weather and fun personalities made the weekend wonderfully memorable.

As Ride for Joy storms into the summer session, there is sure to be more exciting news on the way.

Ride for Joy at Career Day

Executive Directer, Christi King, and Program Manager, Heather Miner, had the privilege of presenting on the career opportunities in therapeutic riding at Union High School in Nampa.  

The students were excited to hear about the many paths into equine assisted activities and therapies and educational options that might assist them in their future endeavors.  

Career Teacher, Tobey Bobo, hopes to work with RFJ to create opportunities for Union students to volunteer and possibly intern at the barn in 2018.


Shout Out

RFJ sends a huge shout out and thank you to the Archie B. Teater Fund for Children with Disabilities in the Idaho Community Foundation (ICF) for granting us monies to provide equine assisted activities during spring session.  

"Archie B. Teater was an Idaho-born landscape painter. He was prolific and is estimated to have painted as many as 4,000 works. He died in 1978 and his estate established a nonprofit to benefit disabled children. The nonprofit transferred its assets to ICF in 1994 to create the Teater fund.

"Since then, the fund has provided more than $144,000 in grants to organizations throughout Idaho that serve disabled children. Proceeds from sales of Teater’s works go into the fund and several Teater paintings hang in ICF’s Boise office." (

Spring on the Way

With the sun peaking through the clouds and abnormally warm temperatures around the valley most days, it seems as though spring is almost here!

Ride for Joy is excited that Spring Session starts in just a couple of weeks with a full schedule. The horses are ready to shed their winter coats and see their riders once again.

The barn is ready to be filled with smiles and laughter as we head in to the first session of 2018. Staff is working hard to prepare for great lessons, fundraising events, and good times.

Staff, volunteers, and donors gathered for our Annual Kick Off Party in January at Eagle River Coffee House in Eagle, Idaho to celebrate the great year we had in 2017. Keep an eye out for more fun events coming in March, and of course, our 3rd Annual Gala in April!

More outstanding news is from Program Manager, Heather Miner. Heather has officially become a PATH, Intl. Certified Instructor. The tests to become an instructor are a challenging process that can last months or years. The Ride for Joy family congratulates her in this amazing accomplishment.

Thank you, everyone, for being a part of Ride for Joy.  You make the memories and miracles at the barn possible.

Until next time,

Christi King

Executive Director