May Open House Recap

Our Open House weekend was not only a great success, but we were honored by very special visitors and official acknowledgments of achievement! 

Saturday May 19th: Military & Veterans Appreciation Day

On the first day of our Open House weekend, we honored and thanked veterans and military service members, and their families. We had a touching ceremony where the Greater Loudoun American Legion Honor Guard presented colors, with a beautiful acapella rendition of the national anthem by Will Baskin.

We had three fabulous speakers who joined Project Horse in giving thanks to those who serve and those who have sacrificed:

  • Chair Phyllis J. Randall of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors
  • State Senator Jennifer Wexton of Virginia's 33rd District
  • Victor Angry, Former  Command Sergeant Major of the Army National  Guard

Project Horse was very proud to be acknowledged and thanked by our special guests, for our Warrior Herd military family initiative and for our general wellness and therapy work over the past decade in the community.

See all the May 19th highlights on our Facebook page!

Sunday May 20th: Project Horse's 10-Year Anniversary

The second day of our Open House provided an opportunity to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. We had an array of special guests, lots of much-needed sunshine, hay rides, horse time, and great activities for all to enjoy.

The afternoon of our 10-year celebration was kicked off with a fascinating demonstration by Michael Alway of Alway Horsemanship. Michael worked with Foster, Project Horse's most challenging rescue. Michael demonstrated the power of kindness, patience and positive support when working with horses... which incidentally mimics how Project Horse works with each and every client.

After Michael's demo, we received a surprise visit from the Mayor of Purcellville, Kwasi Fraser!  The Mayor read a proclamation honoring Project Horse for 10 years of excellent service to the community, AND then the Mayor proclaimed May 21st as Project Horse Day in Purcellville! We are so thrilled to receive such an honor!

Dave Stegmaier, the Director of Community Outreach for Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, also visited. He presented a Congressional certificate of appreciation, congratulating all of us at Project Horse on our 10-year anniversary.

Our founding horse Reeses was also honored on Sunday! Reeses was inducted into the International Healing Horse Registry, nominated by our very own Heather Kirby, LCSW.

We concluded the fantastic afternoon, and weekend, with live music by  Eli Pafumi of RitaRita , and the announcement of our raffle winners. Rosemary Pollard was the winner of the 50/50 CA$H Raffle. Then Rosemary made a touching gesture, donating her winnings back to Project Horse! Rosemary, we are so grateful for you and all you do to support Project Horse (and Reeses - Rosemary helps sponsor Reeses through our Herd Hero program ).

We are so grateful to everyone who came out to join in our very special weekend of celebration!

Please enjoy all of the May 20th highlights on our Facebook page.

 
  Victor Angry, Chair Phyllis Randall and Senator Jennifer Wexton at the Project Horse Empowerment Center in May

Victor Angry, Chair Phyllis Randall and Senator Jennifer Wexton at the Project Horse Empowerment Center in May

  Victor Angry and Reeses

Victor Angry and Reeses

 
  Michael Alway with Foster

Michael Alway with Foster

  Dave Stegmaier, Darcy & Andrew Woessner, and Mayor Kwasi Fraser

Dave Stegmaier, Darcy & Andrew Woessner, and Mayor Kwasi Fraser

 Reeses, our co-founder

Reeses, our co-founder


We're so thankful for our sponsors & volunteers!

Project Horse could not have put on such a  successful and memorable Open House Weekend without all of you - thanks for all of your generosity.

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OPEN HOUSE WEEKEND: May 19 is our Military Appreciation Day & May 20 is our 10-Year Anniversary

**THANKS TO OUR GREAT INDOOR SPACES, THE RAIN SHOULDN'T KEEP YOU AWAY!**

We hope you and your family can join us for our wonderful and exciting Open House Weekend!

On Saturday May 19 please help us honor our Veterans & Military Service Members! We will hold an Honor Guard ceremony at 1:00PM, with special guest speakers, followed by live music the whole family will love!

And don't miss Sunday May 20 and a chance to celebrate Project Horse's 10-Year Anniversary! We'll introduce the members of our healing herd, sharing their amazing stories between 11:30AM and 1:15PM. You'll learn how to become a HERD HERO with a special donation option in honor of our 10-year anniversary. Then you and your family can wind down the great day by finding out if you're one of our lucky raffle winners while enjoying live music from a rising young local star!

2 GREAT DAYS of open house fun for the family:

  • Meet & greet the amazing members of our healing herd
  • Learn how horses are wonderful teachers, for people of every age!
  • Watch or maybe even participate in horse demonstrations
  • Enjoy face painting (small fee charged), wooden horseshoe crafts (FREE souvenir), great raffle prizes, and fun family-friendly games
  • Buy a delicious lunch from the Forkgedabboudit food truck at our farm
  • Get a chance to earn big money in our 50/50 CA$H Raffle
  • Enjoy live family-pleasing music, starting at 2pm both days
  • Take home sumptuous homemade treats from our Bake Sale!
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Don't forget to bring your Military ID, form DD-214 or NGB-22 for free giveaways!


A big THANK YOU to our event sponsors, and to our afternoon performers!

We thank our wonderful sponsors:

Try a Sleep Number bed, Saturday 5/19

Enjoy delicious food all weekend by Forkgeddaboudit deli food truck!

Enjoy great live music each afternoon!

Will Baskin, Saturday 5/19
and
Eli Pafumi of RitaRita, Sunday 5/20

We are also grateful for our generous event supporters who are helping us thank the military and veteran community, and our other weekend visitors, by making our Open House a truly special  and memorable event!


We are thrilled to have the privilege to announce our three May 19 special guest speakers...

Victor Angry, Former Commander Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard

- AND -

Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors

- AND -

Jennifer Wexton, Senator of the 33rd district in Virginia

Please scroll down to read their impressive bios.


Victor S. Angry, Former Command Sergeant Major of the Army National Guard

Victor also wears many other hats as a Volunteer Firefighter; VA Department of Veteran Services (DVS) Board member; Business Owner and Author (Angry Leadership). You can learn more at his website: www.victorangry.com


Phyllis J. Randall, Chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors

Phyllis J. Randall was elected as Chair of the Board of Supervisors in November of 2015.  Chair Randall represents the county on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the Dulles Area Transportation Association, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, and the Route 28 Transportation Improvement District Commission.

 Chair Phyllis Randall

Chair Phyllis Randall

Chair Randall has a long history of public service both locally and on the state level.  At the state level, Governor Tim Kaine appointed her to be the citizen representative on Virginia’s Fair Housing Board in 2009. Governor Bob McDonnell retained her position on the Fair Housing Board where she eventually served as Chair. In March of 2014, Randall was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Virginia State Board of Corrections, where she currently serves as Chair.

As the Loudoun Chair, she oversees one of the fastest growing counties in the Commonwealth and the United States. Up to 70% of the world's internet traffic passes through Loudoun County on a daily basis with data centers occupying more than 9 million square feet in the county.

Her election was historic as she became the first African American Woman in the history of the Commonwealth to ever be elected to Chair a County Board of Supervisors.

By profession, Chair Randall is a mental health therapist working with substance abusing offenders in a local Adult Detention Center; a position she enjoyed for over fifteen years. Her emphasis areas are substance abuse and offender services.

She and her husband Thaddeus, (T.W.) are the parents of two sons, Ashon and Aaron.


Jennifer Wexton, State Senator of Virginia, 33rd District

 Senator Jennifer Wexton

Senator Jennifer Wexton

Jennifer Wexton was elected to the Senate of Virginia in January 2014. She represents portions of Loudoun and Fairfax counties. While serving in the Senate, she has worked to keep our children safe online and in daycares, improve public education, enhance our local transportation infrastructure, help Virginians with disabilities, and honor Virginia's veterans. During her four-year tenure, she has passed over 40 bills, all with bipartisan support.

A native of the Washington area, Jennifer graduated with honors from the University of Maryland in College Park, and earned her law degree from the College of William and Mary. In her legal career, she has served as a criminal prosecutor, guardian ad litem, and substitute judge. She lives in Leesburg with her husband, Andrew, sons Matthew and Jamie, and two rescue dogs, a mother-daughter duo named Wanda and Lady Bear.

Warrior Herd: Giving Back to Our Service Members

   
  
   
  
    
  
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Warrior Herd Connections Continue to Grow

Warrior Herd, Project Horse’s innovative program for military families, continues to make meaningful connections between current service members, veterans and their families. Most recently, Warrior Herd welcomed families and couples in search of building trust, letting go and exploring evolving roles within the family unit. 

Warrior Herd’s restorative workshops allow veterans to reconnect with their families and significant others in a low-stress and supportive environment. The workshops are provided free-of-charge to participants, and are led by an experienced team consisting of a licensed therapist, certified equine specialist and one or more service horses. Each family-focused workshop is custom-tailored to best meet the family’s stated goals. For some, this means expanding skills to more safely deal with stress and frustration; for others, this means a session engaged in a teambuilding activity with the horses and every family member, creating new memories and experiences. Regardless of each family’s focus, Project Horse’s healing herd provides strong, silent support and guidance while participants explore strengths, reframe challenges, and discover ways to deepen connections in their relationships.

These peaceful and powerful moments are welcome respite from the stresses of daily life. It is a privilege to share Project Horse’s tranquil and retreat-like setting with members of our military and their families – all who have been willing to give so much of themselves to the benefit of our nation and our freedom.

As we move into our spring and summer Warrior Herd programs, we are proud to announce that Project Horse is hosting a Military & Veterans Family Day on Saturday May 19 as part of our two-day Spring Open House! This public event provides an opportunity to express gratitude to our veterans, service members, and their families, while they enjoy a fun day in the country, a complimentary lunch and other giveaways, spend time with our healing herd, and enjoy family-friendly games and activities. Project Horse is pleased to treat all visitors, both military and civilian, to a free live musical concert on Saturday afternoon.

At the end of July, we are offering a day camp for Gold Star Children. The camp will be held July 30 – August 3 and is specifically for children who have lost a parent in combat. Applications for the Gold Star camp are now being accepted. The Gold Star camp is offered at no cost to participating families. Feel free to email us with any questions, and please share our Gold Star camp information with anyone who may benefit!

Feel free to apply for early acceptance into any of our cost-free Warrior Herd workshops and programs. We again thank the generosity of our wonderful sponsors, VetsAid Foundation and Lockheed Martin, whose commitment to Project Horse has fully funded the pilot year of our Warrior Herd program and ensures that no veteran or family member pays any program fee!

 

10,000 Reasons for End of Year Giving

It's been a year full of progress and positive client changes at Project Horse, and we are so excited to have been given our biggest match challenge yet! It is so fitting that as we near our 10 year anniversary, we have been offered a $10,000 match challenge in appreciation of all the lives we have impacted and the healing work that we do each year.

From equine experiences promoting wellness, to therapy services dealing with trauma and depression, Project Horse provides a wide range of programs. 2017 has witnessed a near doubling of therapy services, along with the addition of several exciting wellness offerings, serving individuals of every age. We can't wait to see what next year will bring!

But we can't do all of this without the generous support of individuals and businesses in the community. Can you please help us expand our healing work in 2018?

Your gift today through the end of the year will have double the impact!

Warrior Herd Connections

Serving our country requires individuals to distance themselves from their families and focus on the big picture mission. Even after an honorable discharge or retirement from military service, it can be extremely difficult to regain the closeness once enjoyed with a spouse, partner, or family members of all ages. Project Horse launched the Warrior Herd initiative this fall to help close the distance between veterans and their loved ones, providing opportunities for relaxation and restoration in a natural environment (with the help of our highly skilled four-legged therapists).

The October 15th Warrior Herd Couples Workshop was held on a warm Sunday afternoon, and Killian, one of the younger but large members of our herd, chose to participate. At the end of the session Killian rubbed his head on one of the participants in a near-perfect moment of connection, illustrating the level of trust gained in such a relatively short span of time. It's truly amazing how deeply one can work, and how quickly things can emerge and progress, in an equine therapeutic setting.

Warrior Herd's next workshop is focused on family bonds and connections, and we have space available to serve 2 more families. The Warrior Herd Families Workshop will be held Saturday November 18. Please apply by November 13 for consideration for this Family Workshop. We are also now accepting applications for other upcoming Warrior Herd Couples, Family and Veterans workshops, as well as for the Warrior Herd Family Celebration Day on the Farm (July 2018) and the weeklong summer day camp for children who have lost a parent to combat (held August 2018.)

Feel free to apply for early acceptance into any of our cost-free Warrior Herd workshops and group programs. We again thank the generosity of our wonderful sponsors, VetsAid Foundation and Lockheed Martin, whose commitment to Project Horse provides full funding for the Warrior Herd pilot program and ensures that no veterans or their families pay any program fee!

 Killian pictured with volunteer, Jeff Williams, honorably discharged in 2012

Killian pictured with volunteer, Jeff Williams, honorably discharged in 2012


Oktoberfest Fundraising Success

It was the perfect, crisp, fall evening for a fundraiser and we were so happy to see many of our friends and fans come out to support our healing efforts! The Mobile Minis™ were very excited to have a chance to enjoy the untouched lawn outside of the Gathering Building and it wasn't until towards the end of the evening that they were able to tear themselves away from the tempting grass. Then they started to pop their heads up to see everyone, especially when Project Horse therapist, Heather Kirby, brought guests over and started describing the minis individual talents in working with different kinds of clients. 

There were delicious beverages from Sunset Hills Vineyard and Old 690 Brewing Company, an authentic German spread by Culinary Occasions, and an amazing silent auction. All of us at Project Horse felt in great company as we spent the evening with new donors as well as long-time supporters, friends, family, and various members of the community! We were thrilled to have Dominion High School and Loudoun County Public Schools well represented, as well as Loudoun County Department of Family Services, the Loudoun County CSA and local members of our veterans community.

This was our first fundraiser of its kind and we are pleased to announce that the gross proceeds raised came to a total of:

$15,667.63

We could not have accomplished this feat without the dedicated help of our volunteers and the generosity of our wonderful donors and sponsors. With that being said we have to extend our most sincere thanks (not arranged in order of importance) to:

The Grooming Gurus

Maria Kimble
Jan Bickhart
Suzanne Freeze
Kelly Griffitts Cole

Event Planning & Implementation

Melissa McDonald
JR McDonald
Holly Cunningham
Gail Kelly
Martha Briggs
Darcy Woessner
Andrew Woessner
Jeff Williams
Emily Williams

Sponsors & Silent Auction Donors

Holly Cunningham
John Cunningham
Angela Nunez
Fiona Fudge
Marriott Ranch
Salamander Resort & Spa
Melissa Lew
Sunset Hills Vineyard
Old 690 Brewing Company
Jack's Run Brewing Co.
Lothar's Butchery & Gourmet Sausages
Not Your Average Joe's (Reston)
Coach's Corner
Will Baskin
Laureanne Venter
My Plumber
Meredith Ehler
Culinary Occasions

Thanks to Our Board Members

Sharon Hogan
Courtney Marshall
Cassi Spigle
John Browning
Jeff Kimble
Tom Morley
Darcy Woessner
Andrew Woessner

A Special Thanks to

Regina Vall
Heather Kirby
Christine Vitkus
and
Lockheed Martin, a corporate sponsor of our Warrior Herd™ Initiative


VetsAid Grant Awarded to Project Horse

Project Horse is excited to announce that we have been selected as one of only 10 local nonprofits to be awarded a grant from VetsAid. Funding for grant awards is coming from the first annual VetsAid "Concert for Our Veterans", to be held September 20, 2017 in Fairfax, Virginia.

What is VetsAid?

VetsAid is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by rock legend Joe Walsh to raise and disperse sorely needed funds to veterans groups across the country that are serving the men and women who served our country with the dignity, compassion and honor they deserve.
— VetsAid
VetsAid+Final+4x6+lower+res.jpg

Project Horse's winning grant proposal describes a 12-month pilot program which we have just launched. The program, called Warrior Herd, focuses on strengthening veterans' families and the pilot year offers:

  • 5 workshops which focus on couples (veterans reconnecting with their significant others)  **the September workshop was held 9/17**
  • 5 workshops which focus on strengthening family connections
  • a Family Day at the farm for all members of the military (active, inactive, veterans, reservists) and their families
  • a weeklong summer camp for children who have lost a parent in combat

All programs will be FREE to participants. The VetsAid grant will cover approximately 50% of the cost of the Warrior Herd pilot. The other 50% of funds to deliver Warrior Herd still need to be raised, and Project Horse is seeking support for this innovative program from businesses and corporations with a commitment to our nation's military.

If you are interested in donating or participating in this program, or would simply like more information, please contact us today!


First Responders Wellness Workshop

Workshops_FirstResponders_Oct.jpg

Project Horse is looking forward to giving back to the community by offering free workshops for first responders.

If you are a first responder, come enjoy some relaxation in a peaceful setting with our healing herd.

  • Promotes calmness and connecting

  • Enhances trust and communication skills

  • Develops stronger coping skills and stress management

    Project Horse is offering 2 hour monthly wellness workshops at no cost. First responders are often exposed to sights, sounds and smells that can leave them feeling overwhelmed. Come join our monthly wellness sessions the 2nd Monday of every month! Join other first responders for this restorative, non- riding, no-pressure workshop. 


Join Us: Oktoberfest Fall Fundraiser!

 

Project Horse Empowerment Center

presents

Our Oktoberfest Fall Fundraiser!


When?

September 30th, 2017

5pm – 8pm


  • please join us for some serious fun and delicious German fare
  • sip delicious wines from Sunset Hills Vineyard
  • taste craft brews by Old 690 Brewery
  • meet our horse and human staff, learn how they partner in healing, and discover their restorative power
  • explore our silent auction items including a trail ride and overnight getaway from the Marriott Ranch, beer and wine tasting trips, an equine personal development program and trail ride from Salamander Resort & Spa, a gift basket of locally grown and raised items, a miraculous makeover & massage, designer jewelry, a private horse yoga class, and more!

Tickets: $50 each

Bring friends: $275 for 6 tickets

All proceeds will benefit Project Horse and help replenish our Foster Scholarship Fund for families in need.

Thank you to our Event Sponsors!


Walk-In and Get to Know Project Horse

 

This summer and fall we are excited to offer our first Walk-In Workshops at our new facility. We have Walk-In Workshops designed for individuals who want to try out our wellness programs without having to register in advance. These workshops are affordably priced to give everyone the opportunity to try out equine assisted learning. We've scheduled these with your busy schedules in mind on weekends and weekday evenings. Each workshop is designed with specific goals in mind, such as reconnection for our weekend warriors, insight for new empty nesters, and unplugging and connecting with the natural world for teens.

What workshops are scheduled?

Monday, Aug 14
6 – 7:30 PM
Registration from 5:45 – 6 PM

  • Empty Nesters (our Executive Director will be participating as a new empty nester!)

Saturday, Sep 16
10 AM – 12 PM
Registration from 9:45 – 10 AM

  • Weekend Warriors (for active duty/retired military and their significant others)

Sunday, Sep 17
10 AM – 12 PM
Registration from 9:45 – 10 AM

No registration is required and walk-ins are welcome, but if you'd like to ask us any questions or RSVP in advance you can do so below!