Free Rein’s fall session is about to begin; Volunteers Wanted | lifestyles

Established in 2000, the Free Rein Center provides therapeutic horseback riding and education to youth and adults from Transylvania, Buncombe, and Henderson counties. Clients engage in a supervised human-horse connection to address physical, emotional and cognitive challenges. The Free Rein Center is a non-profit (501c.3) organization certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. The director and instructors are PATH certified and receive additional training annually. Since 2000, Free Rein has provided services to over 500 children and adults with the support of over 1,000 volunteers.

Last April, Free Rein’s second spring session, which lasted six weeks, had 93 participants and the subsequent four-week session had 26 participants. These meetings enabled the development of new programs and the fulfillment of waitlist requests. Free Rein was also able to resume our partnership with Project Odyssey for veterans that had been disrupted by COVID-19. This partnership focuses on opportunities for veterans to participate in team building activities, improve resilience, and strengthen skills through interaction with horses.

This past summer, Free Rein was closed while Rockbrook Camp was in operation. Recently, on its traditional Move the Mountain day, Brevard College sent some first years to Free Rein to help prepare the facility for the start of the new season. Free Rein’s Fall Session will be held Sept 12 – Oct. 31. 96 participants are currently expected; Some are returning customers and some are new to programming. The fall program will continue to provide benefits and improve skills related to balance and motor coordination, gross motor skills, core muscle strengthening and fine motor skills. At-risk students have opportunities to improve their cognitive skills, increase their self-esteem, confidence and verbal skills. Many of the students don’t realize they are participating in therapy because they enjoy it.

Free Rein counts on the generosity of corporate sponsors, individual donors and volunteers. In addition, Free Rein is partnering with Pisgah Coffee Roaster for a fundraiser. Free Rein is taking orders for six different types of coffee from September 18th. Order deadline is October 3rd. All orders must be prepaid. Email: [email protected] freerein1325.com to request an order form.

If working with people with special needs or with horses is appealing, Free Rein is always looking for volunteers who can work from one hour to several hours per week. Activities may include: cleaning stables (a great way to be with a horse), grooming, walking horses, tending to feed buckets and hay sacks, and helping with stable maintenance. If you have previous horse experience, side walking and horse leading opportunities are available. If you are interested please contact Free Rein at (828) 883-3375 as soon as possible. For those who have registered, there will be a volunteer training session on August 31st at 1pm. To help Free Rein look after our “horse partners” financially and provide scholarships to our students, donors can sponsor a horse through the HEROS program or make a one-time or ongoing contribution. Visit www.freereincenter.org to learn more or call the Free Rein office at (828) 883-3375.

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