A Dream Comes True

Hearts Adaptive Riding Center just had a dream come true – a new Learning Center. Mayor Marty Blum was there for the Open House and to cut the inaugural ribbon. She informed the audience, “These scissors really do cut,” but it took two tries to work. The dilapidated old office trailer had been demolished and replaced with three separate structures: the Learning Center, an administrative office, and a temporary tack storage structure.

New Board President Barbara Toumayan told me, “All this was possible because of a thirty-thousand-dollar grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation. Meridian Enterprises Corporation (she and her husband’s St. Louis company), and Old Spanish Days Fiesta Rodeo also gave five thousand dollars each.”

Members of Hearts Adaptive Riding Center gave special thanks to Susan Dalton and Harry Vant Erve for being chiefs of construction, along with all the volunteers that helped them.

Executive Director Connie Weinsoff had a good story: “The Shea Therapeutic Riding Center in San Juan Capistrano asked me if we wanted one of their buildings. I said ‘Yes’; they charged us one dollar, and it cost a thousand dollars to ship here.” That became the administration portion of the project. The next goal is to get a permanent wooden structure for the tack room.

Some of those celebrating with lemonade, iced tea, tiny quiches, and assorted goodies were Jedlika’s Si Jenkins representing Fiesta Rodeo (his son Josiah co-chairs the rodeo with Fred Gallo) and Phylene Wiggins from the Santa Barbara Foundation. Sitting under a shady tent roof we watched demos of just what Hearts and these disabled kids are able to do on horseback.

Eight-year-old Amy Reardon was first to exhibit her riding skills. Her father, John, said that when Amy first came to Hearts she started by laying on a pad on the horse’s back. She couldn’t sit up at all. She now sits so proudly and loves to trot her horse. Other parents explained that these kids often have a special relationship with animals, especially if they can’t communicate with people. And Hearts is not just for children. Jose Herrera is a 79-year-old caballero that suffers from Parkinson’s. His daughter Gloria is a nurse and wanted to find a physical activity her father could do. Jose used to work on his grandfather’s ranch in Mexico. Riding at Hearts is something he can do and has brought back many childhood memories.

The horses that make this possible are as special as the kids. They have to be calm, smooth, love people, and easy for any rider to work with. There are also 12 acres of trails that the kids can use to wind down after their fun in the arena. If you or your company would like to sponsor a horse or even just buy fly spray, your call would be welcome at Hearts Office (805-964-1519) located at 4420 Calle Real between Turnpike and El Sueno Roads up on the hill.

Hearts has just received its first endowment check from Joanne and Mitchell Kauffman with Mitchell helping set up programs so there will be ongoing funding. A second endowment check came from Barb and Sam Toumayan.

YE-HA (Youth Empowering Horsemanship Activities) is a new program that pairs “at-risk” youth with horses in need of additional training. This is done under the tutelage of certified Hearts instructors. A horse with bad habits needs much the same things as a troubled teen. The kids are given the reins (pun intended) to take control of their own problems and move forward with self-esteem.

You are invited to come say “Howdy.”

Nothing But Nets

Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club was the setting for “An Evening Under The Stars” to benefit Nothing But Nets. Nets is a global grassroots campaign to prevent malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Rick Reilly, author and columnist for Sports Illustrated, inspired it. Thousands of people have joined the campaign created by the United Nations Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which matches all grassroots donations. Just $10 buys and delivers a net that can accommodate and help protect a family of four.

Party goers were treated to wine tasting, goodies by Chef Gael Lecolley including miniature crab cakes and rare steak on toast squares while listening to the music of the Jason Campbell Band and flamenco guitar by Benise. Some of the guests enjoying the silent auction in the clubhouse and entertainment on the terrace overlooking the polo fields were Barbara Stoops, Kim Phillips, Brad Iwanayr, Laura Arnold Sperling, Michael Hakan, Del Pinho, and Lisa Coffin.

Trisha Lane and Jennifer Jaqua put this event together, with help from Jennifer Tinnes, Laura Arnold and Allison and Sara Jaqua. One hundred percent of the dollars raised will be used to send 2,000 nets for 8,000 people to a Chad refugee camp in Africa. For more information log on to nothingbutnets.net.