Donate to The Straw Fund for 2013 – Very Special Horse Needs Your Support!

December 3rd, 2012

Make a tax deductible donation to The Straw Fund!

Straw is a mare who has been to HELL and all the way back again…she now teaches  hospitalized PTSD combat veterans to do the same!

We need your support to keep her going in 2013…

Meet Straw! 

Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope   Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope

This mare is a amazing soul who found her way into our program (and our hearts) by demonstrating what a gifted teacher and healer she is.  Straw is on lease to our Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program. She works with PTSD Veterans, At Risk Youth groups, and Bereaved Children and so far she is making an impactful and recognizable difference in the lives of humans.

See a recent article on Straw (, Hunterdon County Democrat and on Horse News) at:

We relocated our program to Hunterdon County in 2010, and a year later we learned that the farm we lease space at was already in foreclosure when we found a Sheriff’s Sale notice posted to the front sign. Straw belonged to the owner of the farm, and when leased to us for EAP work proved to be a natural at it. After the foreclosure her owner was not able to care for her and we agreed to take over ensuring that she would have a home and a job.

Most of her history is a question mark but what we do know is this:

Straw’s first career was that of a champion producing broodmare for the AQHA, with more than 5 premium foals. Approximately 6 years ago she suffered a horrible accident, most likely fracturing both of her front legs (L knee and R fetlock/ankle) and possibly two vertebrae in her neck (C2 and C4 are completely fused). Nearly 100% of all horses in this predicament would have been euthanized, but for whatever reason she was not and she healed her physical injuries. We met her years later and found that while she moves with a mechanical lameness she is not in significant pain and gets around very well. In fact since applying a specialist farrier and equilibrium dentistry she even trots and canters on her own accord. *Straw does have a current and “clean” ASPCA file.

Today Straw has a new career working as an EAP/EAL horse and enjoys helping others.  She is very wise, witty, opinionated, and rather strong willed. We have learned that “PITY” is a dirty 4-letter word with her, so while she may be “mechanically disabled” we do not underestimate her, or coddle her.  She is one tough & courageous cookie who consistently shows others to live the same way!  Straw is a dearly valued member of our team and does require special care/practitioners to ensure her comfort and well-being. As a result of her finding her own unique “balance” she takes interest and is acutely successful in her work!

  • Straw teaches At Risk Youth and Gang Youth the meaning of empathy and value of compassion in about 5-8 minutes…without saying a word.
  • Straw teaches war veterans that while you may look broken, or feel broken, you may even BE broken; it does not really mean that you have to live broken…
  • Straw helps to heal children’s grief with her huge heart’s outpouring of love energy – after all she is a mother/nurturer by default – Straw understands suffering and how surviving hard times can make you even stronger!

Spring Reins of LIFE / Horses, Humans & Healing 501c3 - Pittstown, NJ

Spring Reins of Life (Horses, Humans & Healing) 501c3 is a public charity and an EAGALA Model program offering EAP services to Military Veterans, At Risk Youth and Grieving Children. All donations to The Straw Fund are tax deductible and very appreciated.

What We Need & What You Get

Last year (October 2011) the farm that we lease space at in NJ went up for Sherrif’s Sale, meaning it has been in foreclosure for some time (ie: we moved in around mid 2010 and signed a lease on a property that was already foreclosured). The (former) owner had 4 mares on the property, Straw who is in lease to us for our EAP work was one of the mares left behind. We all banded together and found real homes for the other 3 mares. We now have a legal month to month lease arrangement with the bank to keep working out of the same location (at least for the time being).


Straw is an extremely valuable member of our EAP herd and without the special care she requires we fear she would not do well on her own, (ex: before having a specialist farrier to work on her feet and balance, she would lose her balance and fall down – if she fell to her left side she became trapped, unable to get up; with the experts at Daisy Haven Farm helping her with her feet, she has not fallen since). Last year we ran an emergency funding campaign for Straw and realized later that it barely covered her espenses for most of the year. We are a new nonprofit and our admin funding efforts are directed mostly for programming expenses. Therefore we need to raise the money needed to care for Straw and keep her with us doing her amazing work in 2013.


  • Now that we have been in charge of her care for a year we know what it costs to provide her with the basics (stall fee, hay, bedding, feed, care/labor, shots and worming). Hay/Bedding/Feed average at $100 a month each. Stall fee is $250 p/mo, Labor is $150 p/mo. Worming is $150 for the year. Shots are avergage of $225. Total for the above = $8,865 for one year.
  • We also have learned what it costs to provide her with the “extras” that keep her balanced, sound and able to do her EAP work [specialist farrier (75 p/mo), equilibrium dentistry (175 x 2 visits), pain management VMD care (varies depending on her needs)] and she does love carrots! Total for the above (less the carrots, we can buy those) = $2,800
  • Also will state here that if we DO NOT reach our goal in this campaign any and all funds collected will be put directly to her needs and care in the following order: Hay, feed, bedding, labor, farrier, worming, dentist and VMD pain management…
  • Straw has a CLEAN NJ-SPCA file (2011-2014). Just in case anyone is concerned about her well-being and ability to do this work. She is very well compensated for her mechanical problems and we also provide all the support available to keep her comfortable, engaged and with a purpose.
  • Straw also is working on a childrens book about Courage, Determination, and this 4 letter dirty word she calls P-I-T-Y. The book is coming along but will take its own time, once it is released we hope that it resonates well and the proceeds will go directly to her care. In the meantime we are in charge of raising funds for her well-being. In exchange she provides so much to so many!
  • Perks: We have calculated this funding so carefully that there is not the ability to send out a lot of perks. We will have her sign thank you cards, picture cards and personalize them. For larger donations we would like to offer Straw’s wisdom for a complimentary EAP or EAL session – which would need to take place in NJ at our location.

Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope      Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope
(L) Dr. Shari Silverman, VMD gives Straw a “thumper massage” one of her absolute favorites! (R) Straw getting laser therapy on her “knee” which helps reduce inflammation and keeps her comfortable.

Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope   Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope
Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. provides expert and specialist farrier services for Straw so that the angles on her feet match her unique body and movement. Since having DHF on Straw’s feet she has not lost her balance once 🙂


The Impact

Spring Reins of Life (Horses, Humans & Healing) 501c3 is a public charity founded in 2011. Spring Reins of Life (SROL) is an EAGALA Model Program offering Equine Assisted Serives in NY and NJ,

EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, is an international organization with programs in all 50 states and over 40 countries worldwide. There is no riding activities within the EAGALA Model, while riding horses can stimulate much growth and confidence when it comes to mental health and searching to find each clients solutions to complex issues, we honor the amount of interaction and information that comes forward while performing ground based activities with the horses while they are loose and able to freely express themselves metaphorically while clients are with them in the arena.

(one of Straw’s herd mates)

EAP (Equine Assisted Psychotherapy) is an extremely effective modality for various populations and groups that don’t adhere well to traditional talk therapy. Either traditional therapies are not available, or has been tried and didn’t fit well, or some people just do not want to “talk about it”. The not wanting to talk about it seems to fit the main base populations that we service at Spring Reins of Life, which are: Military Veterans, At Risk Youth, and Childhood Bereavement.

EAP is especially effective with those experiencing and combating the effects of Trauma, which is why we believe Straw is so very good at this work, she has her own set of traumas that she has lived through, overcome and now helps others to do the same. For more information on this specifically see the following press release from EAGALA:

(Straw teaching teen boys the meaning of empathy in “Care for the Mare”)

Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope
Straw posing with a group of teen boys from Brooklyn, NY – and their hat!

Straw the therapy horse for Spring Reins of Hope Straw with a child, sending lots of love from her big heart. Young children may not be able to vocalize (or put into words) their pain, traumas or grief, but it doesn’t mean they don’t feel it. Straw communicates very well with these clients because she truly does understand.
Straw is also a MOM, and her nurturing instincts come out the in the grandest form when she is working with young children.

Other Ways You Can Help

We do understand that these are tight times financially so if you are not able to spend funding at this time, there are other ways in which you can help:

  • Please help us spread the word of this campaign, if you know of others who might contribute, please share this link and ask them to donate on our/your behalf.
  • If you live in NJ (we are Central) and would be interested in volunteering at SROL – get in touch with us – Straw loves extra TLC!
  • Used Tack and Riding Apparel Donations! Are you an equestrian, or know one? While we do not offer riding at our program, we can trade gently used Tack and Apparel towards feed and base care supplies for Straw. Please consider donating items that are in good working order but have become obsolete to your needs…
  • Gather a combined donation.  If you have a way to seek small change donations on our behalf – a dollar here and 50 cents there will add up. A check or money order for the total can be sent to SROL directly for The Straw Fund.


Thank you – for the Combat Veterans, for the At Risk Youth groups and for the Children in bereavement.  By helping this mare to be here with us…you are helping all of them to receive the love and healing that she provides from her “Big as Texas” heart!

AND…Thank you from the horses and humans at Spring Reins of Life (and especially from Straw!)


Mail a Check/Money Order:
Make checks payable to SPRING REINS OF LIFE with “The Straw Fund” in the memo line.   Mail to:  Spring Reins of Life, 95 Whitehall Road, Pittstown, NJ 08867.

Donate on Line:
See online campaign at: 

We won’t quit until the final goal is met, so please help us reach $12,500.00 for the 2013 year...

Posted in News & Events, SROL Fundraisers