Thank you

The Baron and Ashley Memorial Fund

PastureWho were Baron and Ashley and why did their owner choose The Shane Center to memorialize them?

"Horses never understand goodbye. They never whinny when you leave, unless they are still hungry, but most of them will say hello. We decided, as a family, that the best way to embrace and share the memory of our 2 beautiful Morgan horses was to give a memorial fund in their honor to the Shane Center. Here was an amazing opportunity for my great horses to say, "hello" to many new riders and to possibly spread that same sense of freedom I once felt. We are honored to give this donation to help such a wonderful organization." Owner of Baron & Ashley

By: Karen Sanchez: 
When I was a teen, I started giving riding lessons as part of my United States Pony Club rating and to help fund my growing horse habit. Like many horse crazy teens, I had Olympic dreams, buckets full of passion, bits of luck, and some God-given talent. I was also blessed to have parents who supported me, great mentors, and a very talented "rags to riches" horse named "Shane".
One faithful day, my path crossed with a young girl who was extremely outgoing, outspoken, funny, genuine, and who never stopped smiling. Although I was hired to give her riding lessons and help her train her pony, we became good friends along the way. This girl was physically different from my other friends and students, but I really didn't notice and I never looked at her differently.  I treated her like I treat all my students--as a friend. Inside me burned the desire and passion to make the best better along with that 4-h pledge to greater loyalty, larger service, better living for my club, my county, my community, and my world. If my dreams contained Olympic Rings, then everyone else's should too.
When my friend would complain that one leg was weaker than the other, and sometimes her hip ached, I had compassion and let her take as many rest breaks as needed. I insisted we just build up that leg by riding without stirrups and do twice as many leg yields. I was always brought up with the theory "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
At one point in our time growing up together, I even allowed her to have my beloved Shane for a few years while I was in college because she needed a pony club forward to college, weddings, children, and life. Sometimes we stayed in touch and although distance keeps us apart, I have gotten to know her beautiful children and husband. They are considered family now. Little did I know how blessed I would personally be by their friendship and how at a time of great need, The Shane Center would be given a gift of love. This gift not only helps make it possible for dreams to come true, but also memorializes Baron and Ashley, the beloved equine members of the family.
From Baron and Ashley's Owner: Baron and Ashley Memorial Fund...A great way to keep saying "Hello!!"
Baron and Ashley were more than stablemates. They were my connection to healing, a sense of freedom, and instant friendship. They were more than horses, because I had both of them since I was in high school--they were family. They saw me grow a family of my own. They were both around for the birth of my children and saw me through some health issues of my own. I have never quite figured out how to say goodbye to them because all they ever truly understood was hello.
BaronBaron was a 16.2 hand Morgan horse. He was deep bronze color in the summertime with a white crooked blaze down his nose. My parents allowed me to breed his mama to a solid black Morgan stallion. She was a liver chestnut. I thought for sure I would have a black horse. Instead I saw a beautiful copper baby.  His antics were legendary. His favorite game when he was a colt was to play tag with my white German Shepherd. She'd charge up to him, pull on his tail, or nip his heel and he'd turn around and chase her. His nose would brush her back end, he'd squeal with delight, spin on his haunches and the chase was continued.
He was the embodiment of orneriness but he was also a nervous wreck without something familiar from home with him. We started showing him at 4 years old. His first show he plowed over the top of the stall and screamed until I came to him. He then buried his head in my arm pit and relaxed. He soon had a companion goat that followed us everywhere. The problem was the goat didn't stay in the stall with him very well. When she crawled underneath his door to explore the area he threw a fit.  Needless to say, he drove most people crazy in his younger years, but he grew up...a little. We did a few 3 day events at the novice level before I went to college. I was lucky my parents were able to keep my babies while I went to school. Every time I would come home for a visit, he was one of the first to whinny a hello.
Ashley snow
Ashley was a dark bay in the summer time and almost black in the winter time. We bought her at a Morgan horse auction. She had some bad habits and inexperience that we had to work through. Once she settled in, Ashley was the "Boss". If things needed to be taken care of, she did it. No stray dogs were allowed in her field, and kittens were meant for dunking in water troughs. She loved to be scratched and loved on but disliked having to wait her turn.
Ashley scared people when you said this is the horse you will ride. I always had to put her on a long line and let her buck, kick, and squeal. Once she got it out of her system, she was almost lazy under saddle. Watching her on a long line, not to many believed me. She was green broke and only a few would ride her.
She loved to test our electric fences. She was the bull whip and Baron was the battering ram. If he touched the fence and it sparked she was content to leave it alone. My neighbor across the way, watched her spend an entire afternoon running Baron at different sections of fence, until Baron finally found the weakness. My neighbor found it quite entertaining. He then came over, put the "escapees" in the barn, and fixed the fence. He said it was a great day.
ShaneAngieI was born with a hip that never grew properly. My horses gave me a sense of normalcy. I showed, I cleaned stalls, and I had for a time, the ability to be free from a physical problem that detracted from the person I was. My horses taught me how to laugh, how to push through the hard stuff, and how to accept life with all its flaws. In 2006 I had a total hip replacement. I remember, arriving home from the rehab center and seeing my babies in the field. To the horror of my physical therapist, I had my husband help me move my awkward walker through the uneven terrain and to the barn. I was exhausted when I got there but ecstatic to say hello. It took several rest stops through the uneven ground to get back to the house, but that visit made me more determined to get stronger.

Internships at The Shane Center

Summer InternsThe Shane Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship's relies heavily on the many volunteers who dedicate their time helping from week to week. In addition to the volunteers, The Shane Center welcomed three new interns for the spring and summer session! Katie Luciano, Ian Coburn and Krystina Carter are all students at The Ohio State University and are in the process of completing their undergraduate degrees in Animal Science.

The Animal Science program at OSU requires students to complete 200 hours at a pre-approved internship of their choice. The goal of the internship is to explore potential career opportunities after graduation. All three of our interns had no previous experience in equine assisted therapy and decided to join The Shane Center in order to learn more about it. So far, the interns have helped write grants, plan the annual open house, write thank you letters, assist in lessons, help with barn work and learn about the daily operations at The Shane Center. Before beginning in the spring, all three interns met with Karen to discuss their goals and what they hoped during their time interning at The Shane Center. Ian wanted to learn more about how non-profit organizations are run and to improve his horse handling skills. Krystina hoped to learn more about running a business because she plans to own an animal rescue when she is done with college. Katie wanted to learn more about equine assisted therapy and what kinds of activities the participants do with the horses. She feels there is a lot to learn and wanted to expand her general knowledge in the field.

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Big Changes for Central Ohio's Original Therapeutic Riding Program!

 Ben We are very proud to announce that Equine Assisted Therapy, Inc. has changed its name AND has achieved international accreditation through PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). PATH has been a global authority, resource, and advocate for equine assisted activities and therapies since 1969.

As of January 27, 2014 Equine Assisted Therapy, Inc. officially became The Shane Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc., and as of May 20, 2014 The Shane Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship became a PATH Premier Accredited Center after scoring 100% on the site visit. Founded by Karen and Joel Sanchez, Equine Assisted Therapy, Inc. has a strong reputation for providing safe, quality, family-oriented services that are second to none. Located at Willow Farm in Centerburg, Ohio and situated on 40 beautiful acres in Knox County this non-profit organization has been fulfilling its mission of improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through innovative equestrian activities for the past 21 years.

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Remembering Blaze

BlazeTannerIn my experience, most animals have their own unique personalities. Not all of them are extroverts like my childhood horse Shane was, but they all have something special to offer. Different horses bond with different students, just as the students bond with different horses. All of my horses have a place in my heart, but there's one in particular who really stands out. 

Blaze's owner had him since she was a little girl. As payment for some work he did, her father picked him right off a trailer that was heading to auction. Many of those horses are shipped off to Japan as meat, so Blaze got lucky. As the little girl grew older and moved on to more challenging horses, other kids started riding Blaze in 4H. As the years passed, Blaze needed a less demanding job so he was offered to our program.

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Dreams of the Future

KarenKevinIMG 0013When times get a little tough, as they are right now for many people, it's more important than ever to hold on to our dreams of the future. Here at the farm, we've had both challenges and triumphs over the last few years. The important thing is to never lose sight of the kids our therapeutic programs serve. Thinking of the impact riding has on their lives fills me with hope that this farm won't just survive, but thrive.

When we first started out with 40 acres in 1993, I was definitely naïve. We had no fences or pastures, but I figured we'd have everything built in five years. Since we only had outdoor facilities, we'd put on raincoats and work regardless of the weather.

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Shane, One Very Cool Horse

There's a special garden here to mark the final resting place of my childhood horse named Shane. He came into my life when I was nine years old and stayed in it for about 36 years. During that time, he taught me just about everything I needed to know about horses. Most importantly, he showed me how to be brave and listen when he had something to communicate. 

Shane was always keen on people,

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And so we begin . . .

firstlessonWe are one year shy of our 20th anniversary at Equine Assisted Therapy, and it amazes me how     far we've come. We started with little more than a barn full of junk and a house to raise our newborn in. Over time this farm has grown to become a product of the community. I always envisioned that this program would grow large enough to be self-sustaining, but I never imagined the family of volunteers, students and staff that have helped the farm survive.

The program started with eight students, a handful of volunteers, two horses, and a pony, including my childhood horse, Shane. Friends let us borrow a pony named Oreo, and yes, he did look like an Oreo cookie. Our third horse, Tippy, was donated to us. I distinctly remember our very first lesson: everything was set up and ready to go, so of course it rained but we rode anyways because the smiles were worth it. 

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WinnersWhen I was very young, when the grown-ups would ask: "What do you want to do when you grow up?" my first answer was that I wanted to be a vet. I knew even then that I wanted to do something that made a difference – and of course I loved horses. One of my earliest memories is of tagging along with my mom when she took riding lessons, pestering her with, "I wanna ride! I wanna ride!"

My first horse, Shane, came to me when I was nine, and together, we got involved with 4H and Pony Club, with lessons and showing. While my vet ambitions eventually evolved into a desire to be a classroom teacher, it wasn't until after I had completed a 

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