Reins of Life to welcome new therapeutic horse

Elizabeth Grainger of Grainger Dressage LLC, left, and Amanda Bubb of Reins of Life pose with "Jenny," a new horse who has been donated to Reins of Life to be used at the South Bend and Michigan City locations. Grainger is the trainer working with Jenny and Bubb is a barn manager and therapeutic riding instructor for Reins of Life.

SOUTH BEND — A jubilee welcoming a new horse to Reins of Life is planned for Tuesday, April 5 at the South Bend site.

Jenny is a 7-year-old Gypsy Vanner broodmare and comes to Reins of Life as a donation from Tennessee's LexLin Gypsy Ranch.

Last year, Reins of Life was one of many organizations to apply for a horse from LexLin, which is working toward a goal of donating 30 horses over three years in the Gypsy Gift program.

According to a news release from Reins of Life, “Due to their size, strength and gentle temperament, Gypsy horses are ideally suited to impact the lives of those who are developmentally disabled, injured and troubled.”

As a therapeutic horseback riding organization, Reins of Life was especially interested in bringing Jenny home to Indiana to help children and adults with disabilities at its South Bend and Michigan City facilities.

The jubilee is free and open to the public. Reins of Life only asks that people RSVP prior to the event by calling 574-232-0853 or emailing staff@reinsoflife.org.

The event will be held at Reins of Life, 55200 Quince Road, South Bend.

“We want people to welcome (Jenny) and see her,” said Reins of Life Executive Director Dorota Janik. “There's been a lot of excitement and big support for our organization.”

As part of the application and nomination process to receive Jenny, Reins of Life had to compete with 49 other organizations for the most Facebook votes. Through LexLin's donation program, the 10 organizations with the most votes received horses.

With votes coming in from around the world, Reins of Life ended the competition in first place with 19,184 votes – winning the first choice in the horse adoption.

Jenny is currently undergoing her training in South Bend with trainer Elizabeth Grainger, but Janik said the horse will be transported between the South Bend and Michigan City facilities based on rider's needs at each location.

“She will be good for heavier riders,” Janik said of the new horse. “She's a weight bearer – stocky but not too tall.” This allows heavier adult clients to ride on her and still be assisted by volunteers who walk alongside the horse.

During Jenny's jubilee, Janik said, Reins of Life will hold a demonstration featuring the new horse and discuss therapeutic horseback riding in general.

“We will show people how Jenny moves, how she looks under the saddle, how we train horses, how we play with horses,” Janik said. “We will be demonstrating what therapeutic horses are exposed to, what is important and how we do things.”

Also during the jubilee, a blessing of the horses will take place followed by recognition of outstanding contributions.

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