YE-HA! Hearts Goes Way of the West

Git on your best jeans and jewels, grab your partner and get over to the Carriage & Western Art Museum for some rip-roaring fun! That’s what 300 people did (150 responded the day of the event). Denim & Diamonds is a fundraiser presented by the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors to benefit Hearts Adaptive Riding Center.

Hearts Executive Director Connie Weinsoff and Chase Enright, an event planner for the Association of Realtors, were co-chairs and had ready-made décor at the Carriage Museum, with its saddles and Western town façade already in place. Dudes in Western duds packed the place, stopping to have a photo op in an old west wagon and drinking margaritas, beer and wine instead of the usual cowboy whiskey shot. They also received “$100” in lucky bucks to play the gambling tables in the tented casino. Novices could have free lessons on how to play craps. Whenever guests got hungry they could amble over to the barbeque buffet for tri-tip and beans.

Hearts was established in 1985 and has provided around 30,000 lesson hours to more than 2,000 riders. Imagine what it would be like to be confined to a wheelchair and then lifted onto the back of a dependable horse (there are eight and they need two more) that can take you places your chair can’t go – down a trail or around an obstacle course. Therapeutic riding helps the body receive physical movement similar to that of the human walking gait, increasing blood flow to vital organs and loosening up stiff joints. Riders improve strength, balance, coordination, communication and self-confidence. And it’s fun!

Hearts has outdoor arenas with views of the ocean and mountains and 23 acres of scenic riding trails above the Sheriff’s station off Calle Real. Its part-time paid staff of six includes two North American Riding for the Handicapped Association-certified instructors. Executive Director Connie and Anne Swan are two of only 18 certified Advanced instructors in the state. Clients range in age from 3-78. Approximately 50 volunteers age 14 and up assist during lessons or with facility maintenance, fundraising and special event.

YE-HA (Youth Empowering Horsemanship Activities) is a new program that pairs “at-risk” youth with horses in need of additional training. Hearts accepts privately owned horses from the community for specialized training under the tutelage and mentorship of certified instructors. Hearts also runs a summer camp for disabled youth.

You can learn more by calling 964-1519.

The Writers Reception

Archie and Leinie Schilling Bard held a special reception in the garden of their George Washington Smith-designed Montecito home to celebrate the Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scholarship Fund. Guest of honor was Tab Hunter.

Barnaby and Mary Conrad founded the Writers Conference 35 years ago. The current owner and executive director is Marcia Meier. The local writers’ longtime favorite caterers, Fernando and Vicky, served up drinks and yummy tidbits while Marcia thanked the donors who helped establish the Scholarship Fund last year with the Santa Barbara Foundation.

Some of those attending who gave $1,000 or more were Susan and Dennis Chiavelli, Stan and Betty Hatch, and Monte Schulz (son of the late “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles), Jean and Stan Harfenist, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Stuart Miller and Diana and Simon Raab. Mary and Barnaby were off in Mexico for the opening of the bullfight season. Kate Schwab, regional market manager for Borders, interviewed Tab Hunter: “Why did you write your book, Tab Hunter Confidential?”

Tab responded, “I heard someone was going to write a book about me. I decided I’d rather people heard it from the horse’s mouth, not from some horse’s ass.” Tab has a lifelong love of horses and is an accomplished rider so he related, “I was discovered when I was thirteen in a stable shoveling the real stuff instead of the Hollywood stuff.”

Julia Child once asked Tab what he was going to name his book. When he said, “Product of Hollywood,” she chortled, “That’s not very sexy!” Kate coaxed Tab to tell us about another book project he’s thinking about. It would be titled, “Taking Care of Evelyn Keyes.” The once movie actress is a good friend of Tab and his partner, Allan Glaser, and lives nearby at The Peppers retirement home. As Tab said, “Evelyn is a pistol!”

The event committee was headed up by Leinie with help from Barbara Burgess, Susan Chiavelli, Susan Gulbransen, Marla Miller and Marie Profant. Another local favorite was Hank Allen with the music.

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference is known for writers helping writers improve their craft. There are still a few openings for the annual conference beginning June 22.

Call 964-0367 for information.