Project Horse Announces 10 Year Celebration

In partnership with rescued horses, thousands of people have been helped over the past decade


Project Horse Empowerment Center proudly marks its 10-year anniversary with a gala fundraiser on Saturday October 20, held on Trillium Farm in Lincoln. The gala, with a diamonds and denim theme, offers an opportunity for key stakeholders, volunteers and supporters to celebrate a decade of service and accomplishment, while raising mission-critical funds for the Loudoun-based nonprofit.

Gala attendees will enjoy live music, delicious wines by Sunset Hills Vineyard and a fabulous dinner by A Taste of New York Catering. The list of wonderful silent auction items continues to grow, and includes a private cooking class with dinner by James Beard award-winning Chef Dinah Corley, and an overnight stay and trail ride for two by Marriott Ranch.

In addition to a joyous celebration and fundraiser, attendees will learn how Project Horse has contributed to the wellbeing of the community over the past decade, impacting the lives of local veterans, families, at-risk teens, individuals with special needs, those dealing with addiction, and children with trauma exposure. Project Horse has achieved exceptional growth over the years and continues to expand community wellness and therapy offerings, and boasts a very experienced team of licensed therapists, facilitators, equine specialists and therapy horses.

Project Horse is one of the only equine therapy centers in the United States focused exclusively on mental health and wellness. The organization has repeatedly demonstrated the power of partnering with horses—in non-riding interactions—to effectively achieve personal growth and healing.

I was the first therapist to work at Project Horse, and now we have 6 clinicians on our team! The organization has grown and evolved significantly, but we still don’t offer any riding. It’s a unique but powerful approach, and I believe it’s what makes this modality so effective for a wide variety of people. It enables a client to gain the awareness and skills needed for a truly collaborative, safe relationship with a horse. The skills built in the paddock are the very same valuable skills that help people thrive in all relationships and everyday life.
— Florinda Reid, LPC, RPT-S, Lansdowne, Virginia

This year, Project Horse is pleased to thank Lockheed Martin, Summit Insurance Services and My Plumber for generous corporate support. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are still available, accommodating organizations of any size. In addition to annual benefits and exposure, all sponsors receive tickets to the October 20 gala. Individual gala tickets are also available and must be reserved in advance. Event proceeds and sponsorships will benefit Project Horse and help replenish their Foster Scholarship Fund. The Foster Fund provides financial assistance so families in need can access equine therapy and wellness services.

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!