Mane Stream Horses: Winyamaro and Hotmail

Aug 16, 2013 - 5:36 AM
Mane Stream Hotmail is preparing for his first Grand Prix at Saugerties this weekend. Photo by Anna Sylvan Jaffe.

Dear Rita,

Winyamaro, my World Cup horse and generally too cool for his shoes Grand Prix horse, and Hotmail, my up-and-coming star, have had an official name change. From now on, the horses will be called Mane Stream Winyamaro and Mane Stream Hotmail.

My horses and I are giving our professional names to a worthy cause. And we hope that through our future success in dressage sport and the publicity that goes with that, that we can get more people interested in Mane Stream’s mission.

Mane Stream is a charitable organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for people with physical, developmental, emotional and medical challenges through a diverse program of equine assisted activities and therapy. The Mane Stream stables are located just a few miles from my home in Oldwick, N.J. My husband’s vet clinic, Running S Equine, takes care of their horses. And my horses, Winyamaro and Hotmail, will try to boost this organization’s popularity and raise funds throughout our region.

It is my hope that every time one of my horses is placed in a Grand Prix throughout his lifetime, someone will ask, “What is Mane Stream?” And I will have the opportunity to explain the benefits of equine assisted therapy and adaptive riding for people with special needs.

(Winyamaro hopes that he will have more opportunities to show off during fundraisers by performing his musical freestyle and some of his more daring moves for the public at large. He is the horse with the hair and the horse with the flair. And he loves you to watch his mane stream…}

Mane Stream and its programs have a life changing impact on the lives of many children and adults with special needs. Not only do the participants benefit from improved communication skills, core strength and general self confidence, but the volunteers, therapists and families of these people are also drawn into a community of generous, loving people who center their lives around horses and learning.

Equine-assisted therapy is amazing. Did you know, Rita, that there is something about the motion of riding a horse that stimulates activity in the human cerebellum? The cerebellum is the region of the brain that controls coordination, balance, voluntary motor movements, and your sense of position of your body parts. Stimulating the cerebellum promotes learning on many levels in the human being.

Children who cannot speak while sitting in a wheelchair can learn to speak while sitting on a horse. They can learn reading and communication skills while seated in the saddle even though they struggle to do so at a desk. In adaptive riding, adults who cannot feed themselves due to spasticity in their arms, can learn to hold the reins and steer a horse through a 20-meter circle. People with very little motor control can develop balance and core strength while sitting on a horse.

D.H. Lawrence and at least a dozen other famous people have been credited with some version of this quote: “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” That is so true on so many levels!

When I came back to the United States in 2012, I was determined to find a charitable organization that I could somehow support with my riding. When my husband and I were invited to a fundraiser for Mane Stream last fall, I knew I had found my match. I just didn’t know how to go about contributing to the wonderful community created by this organization.

I don’t have a lot of time to volunteer as an assistant at the stable, and quite frankly, I might not be good at that. I like to teach and train competitive riders how to master their skills. I am also not independently wealthy, so I am not financially capable of charitable contributions of any significant size. Thus, I asked myself if I could find a way to use my riding to make a worthy contribution to Mane Stream….?

Horses, after all, have blessed my life as they bless the lives of everyone who comes into contact with them. I am grateful for my connection with the Horse and for all the skills that horses have taught me. I would like to honor their contribution to lives of special needs individuals.

This is how my horses and I can contribute to the Mane Stream organization: Mane Stream Winyamaro and Mane Stream Hotmail will be ambassadors for the adaptive riding and equine-assisted therapy programs in Oldwick. Wherever my horses travel and compete in the world, they will champion the cause of the special needs individuals who benefit from their connection with the horses and ponies at Mane Stream. And I will donate a portion of my horses’ winnings to the charity.

This video might also convince you to get creative and help this organization in any way that you can:

About Mane Stream from Mane Stream on Vimeo.

The website at Mane Stream gives you many opportunities to help:

  • Donations can be made.
  • Volunteers can sign up to help.
  • American Express points that translate into cash for the charity can be donated to Mane Stream.
  • Companies can match charitable gifts. Over 17,000 already do; does yours?

Horses give so much, Rita. They give to any human who needs their help in whatever capacity they can. They teach us, Rita. They teach us. Any organization that honors the teaching power of the horse gets a “hats off” from me. And Mane Stream gets the name of my best horses.

I’m Catherine Haddad Staller, and I’m saying it like it is from Gladstone, N.J.

Training Tip of the Day: Do you still think you are training your horse?


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