REDDINGTON — From the time Connor Hartsook started the therapeutic riding program at Reins to Recovery Inc. Therapeutic Riding Center until now, his mother says he’s been doing better.
Over the past four years, Connor has ridden all horses, from large breed to miniature.
During most of the weekly sessions, he either manages to ride horses or interact with them in the field. Sometimes, however, it takes a bit of coaxing from instructors and volunteers to get her close to a horse.
“He was always terrified of animals. We went to the fair and he didn’t do the pony ride when he was little, so I’m the kind of mum where if my kid doesn’t want to do something, it makes me want to do it even more.” , said his mother, Tawny Hartsook of Columbus. “I was like, ‘I’m not going to make him live his life scared of something, so we’re going to face it head-on.'”
At first she said it would take two or three people to hoist him onto a large breed horse.
“I think he’s ridden here before, and ultimately Ginger was the right fit, and he’s doing really well with Ginger on top of her. He does everything to lead it,” Tawny said. “But he would still never come near her.”
A few months ago he switched to Gordon, a miniature therapy horse.
“Last week was great. He did well last week. He approached Gordon. He was touching him. He was putting stickers on him,” Tawny said. as a pilot, but in terms of interaction, last week was a good week. This week has been a bad week.
Being an animal lover herself, Tawny continues to ask her son to go to Reins to Recovery to overcome the fear. She said it’s a great local resource for helping people with special needs, victims of violence and abuse, and at-risk youth.
“It’s huge,” she said. “I tell everyone about it. One of his boyfriends that we go to church with who is only three weeks older than him just started recently, and I’ve been talking to his mom about it for a year. I think it’s amazing to have this resource here locally. The volunteers and staff are great too. Great ladies.
To continue having this local resource, Reins to Recovery hosts its largest annual fundraiser, The Mane Event, every August.
This year it is scheduled from 4-8 p.m. on August 27 at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 750 W. County Road 200S, Columbus. The event, open to the public, will include a barbecue dinner, live auction, silent auction and face painting.
Admission to the 13th annual event is free, but voluntary donations will be accepted for dinner including pork barbecue sandwiches, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, dessert and beverages.
Easterling Entertainment will be offering face painting from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and auctions will include items such as airline tickets, college football tickets, family entertainment packages, casino stays, room nights, tools, local gift cards and gift baskets. shops and activities.
Articles are posted on The Mane Event Facebook page under the discussion tab.
“We’re going to have some cool stuff coming up, quite a variety,” said general manager Calli Johnson.
Proceeds benefit the general fund of the non-profit organization to support all horse programs and expenses.
“Pretty much, it’s our only and done for a year’s worth of overhead,” Johnson said. “Last year our goal was $15,000. This year we are aiming for $20,000.
Reins to Recovery opened in 2008 near Seymour and moved to a property along US 31 just north of Reddington in 2016. It offers therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with special needs, a horse-assisted psychotherapy for abused children aged 5 and over. and horse-assisted abuse and learning for at-risk youth with emotional and behavioral challenges.
After the COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the annual fundraiser and halted some programming in 2020, Johnson said it was a good feeling to bounce back and keep the programs going.
Therapeutic riding is growing and Jenna Carlton is the new program manager. It runs mainly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
“This program is working very well,” Johnson said. “We are always looking for these day volunteers. It’s kind of our eternal obstacle.
Since the start of the pandemic, Reins to Recovery has seen an increase in demand for the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program.
“There is still such a need, and I don’t know if it will ever end, so we still have a waiting list right now,” Johnson said. “Right now we could honestly use another part-time licensed therapist to join our team to help with that waitlist, so that’s something we’re looking at as this program grows.”
Reins to Recovery restarted its equine-assisted learning program in fall 2021 in conjunction with students from Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.
“They go out on the bus every week, and we work on character skills, life skills with them so they can then go from the barn to home or school,” Johnson said. “We would love to serve more of our schools, even Jackson County schools, if we could ever get to that point where they can take the bus.”
A new feature of this program that will begin soon is a partnership with the Columbus Regional Health Treatment and Support Center, a voluntary outpatient treatment program for adults with substance use disorders.
“We’re going to be working with addiction and recovery, so we’re going to go there, and it’s going to start here in about a month,” Johnson said. “They came to us saying there was a need for resources, so we thought about it and discussed how we can make it suitable. We are delighted with this new opportunity.
At the Kidneys to Recovery facility, Johnson said she recently received a grant from the Columbus Regional Health Foundation to convert the two-car garage into a classroom and large group meeting area.
“What will be so beneficial for our school groups or some of these larger groups that we serve to have meeting space,” she said. “It will be really nice to have that.”
The centre’s horses – seven large breeds and three miniatures – are also doing well and continue to be a crucial part of the organization with customers.
“It’s the success stories and the customers where all the cool stuff happens,” Johnson said.