Helping the healing

LeAnn Jackson, a Healing Horses volunteer and board member, said proceeds from their annual fundraiser gala goes right into the program.

“Primarily, funds are needed to feed the horses, veterinary costs, farrier, and maintenance of the ranch facility,” Jackson said.

Jackson said Healing Horses has a lot of work being done on a voluntary basis, but despite that, there are expenses related to the work. As an example, volunteers come in to mow the grass at the Wailua ranch, but there are gas expenses for the mowers.

Heather Phelps, a volunteer board member and Healing Horses treasurer, said during this period of less-than-average rainfall, there is extra feed needed to maintain the horses’ health and well-being.

“When it rains, it’s not unusual to have the guinea grass grow six inches in a day,” Phelps said. “When it’s dry like it is now, we need extra feed to keep the horses healthy.”

Galann Maag, a Healing Horses volunteer and board member, said being a volunteer is a healing experience. The program introduces horses to people as a therapeutic experience.

“I lost my husband in 2013,” Maag said. “My brother has been caring for my 94-year-old mother in Wailua and after losing my husband, he offered me a place to stay and help him care for my mother. I found homes —I couldn’t sell them — for my two horses, moved here from Missouri, and now, I care for these horses. This is really a labor of love — it’s a healing experience for volunteers, the horses, and program participants.”

Jackson said she loves horses, but can never afford to get one of her own.

“I came here after I had an accident and discovered what can happen when you work with horses,” Jackson said. “Now, I want to learn to ride dressage and Jessica Fredericks, the Healing Horses director, is one of the better instructors. I’m working with her in learning how to ride. I also love working with people with disabilities who come here to enjoy the horses. The results are amazing. Everyone who leaves this Wailua facility leaves happy.”

Phelps said the Kauai Summer Gala is Healing Horses’ largest and most important fundraiser of the year. It will be July 13 at the Hukilau Lanai, 520 Aleka Loop, Kapaa.

“We count on the funds raised to keep our program affordable and afloat,” Phelps said. “Our gala is about giving back to the Kauai community as Healing Horses Kauai is dedicated to improving the physical, mental, social and emotional well-being of Kauai’s youth and disabled community through the use of equine-assisted activities and therapies.”

The Gala will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and will feature a dinner, cash bar, silent auction and entertainment by Not My First Rodeo.

Call 635-4720 or email hhkauai@gmail.com for tickets or more information.

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