Straw Fund Completed (Thank you!)

January 24th, 2013

The Straw Fund – IS COMPLETED!


NJ Horse with a Broken Body Has a Knack For Healing Human Hearts

AnimalsPittstown, New Jersey, United States

widget_final 2013

Update Note: January 22, 2013 –The STRAW FUND is Completed!

Spring Reins of Life wishes to send a heart felt THANK YOU to Viggo Mortensen, Jewel, and Betty White for their generous donations and support. With their help we were able to rally and meet Straw’s needs for 2013! Thanks to them and the 61 other generous animal/horse loving hearts Straw will be helping SROL’s waiting list of Veterans and At Risk Youth clients!

♥ Thank you Viggo Mortensen!
♥ Thank you Jewel!
♥ Thank you Betty White! ♥

images   Jewel 1 Kurt Markus  Betty_White

♥ Thank you to singer/songwriter Templeton Thompson for donating signed CD’s to give away as perks
♥ Thank you to wild horse photographer Tamara Gooch for donating images for sale to help raise funds
♥ Thank you to USDF-FEI Olympic Champion Robert Dover for posting Straw’s story on Dover’s World
♥ Thank you also to Author Ann Jamieson for donating proceeds for her latest book For The Love of The Horse, Volume IV


Short Summary

Meet Straw! 

Straw beautiful and blu sky This mare is an 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 in 2010 for EAP work  she 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. It is truly a miracle that Straw is alive.  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 we are so grateful to have her wisdom and help in the arena.  She 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!


mydc 10-16 straw and boys care for mare.jpg

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 working here with gang youth (NYC) about the meaning of empathy in “Care for the Mare”



straw in a boa




Straw works with combat PTSD war veterans to understand on their own terms 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…




lilly and straw 6.12


Straw understands suffering and how surviving hard times can make you even stronger! Straw is here 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 that does not mean they don’t feel it powerfully. 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.






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 Sheriff’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 foreclosed). 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 DHF 1.12#13Straw 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 expenses 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 average 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 children’s 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!

straw massage 12.31.11    straw laser knee front 12.31.11
(L) Straw getting laser therapy on her “knee” which helps reduce inflammation and keeps her comfortable. (R) Dr. Shari Silverman, VMD gives Straw a “thumper massage” one of her absolute favorites!


Straw DHF 1.12 #5 web lrg
Straw DHF 1.12 #11-web large

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

SROL Logo Final 2011Spring 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 Services 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.

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:

Thank you – for the PTSD 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!)

Also Find This Campaign On:

$12,565 Raised of $12,500 Goal / 0 time left
Verified Nonprofit Campaign / Flexible Funding campaign
This campaign received all of the funds contributed by Fri 18 Jan.


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