From the creation of Horses with Hearts, we have looked to the future. Over the years we’ve continued to dream, first of our forever home. In 2014, HwH was fortunate to receive 31 acres of land generously donated by Trinity UM Church in Martinsburg, WV. Many hardworking volunteers have invested time and energy in preparing the land for the horses and arena, removing rocks, building and painting fences and installing lights and water. In 2016, the Women Investing in Shepherd (WISH) awarded a grant to provide a handicapped accessible restroom on the farm, and Bucky Hess donated a two-year lease of a farm tractor. These critical community-wide first steps began the journey of making the dream a reality for which we at Horses with Hearts are deeply grateful.
The efforts to turn this dream into a reality continue. With ongoing community support, our future goals include:
- expanding our property to include an indoor arena, outdoor arena, sensory trails, barns and office/meeting spaces;
- becoming a full-time therapeutic riding program;
- working within our Public School System, and
- working with our Veterans and Senior Citizens.
Our next two immediate goals are interdependent. It is our intention to become a full-time therapeutic riding program allowing individuals to enjoy and benefit from equine activities 12 months a year. To accomplish this it is necessary to move forward with the construction of an indoor arena to provide a controlled environment in which to conduct programming year-round. Completing this arena will increase HwH’s services by 500%,
The arena will consist of a climate-controlled indoor riding area, classroom, sensory room, therapy room, office, storage space and some stalls. To build the arena, furnish the rooms and provide the infrastructure required to deliver our program effectively to assist hundreds of individuals to be physically active, enjoy the benefits of horseback riding and interacting with others, HwH is planning a capital campaign to raise the $5 million required to accomplish these goals. We will be raising the funds to begin to build in 2020 with contributions payable over a five-year pledge period. In addition, we plan on offering opportunities to name aspects of the new arena and our facilities overall.
The impact of this project once completed will transform our community. Currently we serve approximately 40 individuals per week. Because we do not have the indoor facility, we are only able to provide services six months of the year and then only on days when the weather allows. With the indoor arena, our numbers will increase to more than 200 per week, 12 months a year allowing consistent programming as we will no longer need to cancel due to inclement weather. And we know, based on the major changes we see in participants even without being able to ride every week throughout the year that this arena will result in significant increases in the life-altering benefits HwH provides.