Noell & Heather

Reining Strength: A Therapeutic Pillar of the Fort Bend Community

Noell Myska and Heather Hernandez join the pod to talk about serving the Fort Bend community through equine-assisted learning and therapeutic horsemanship at Reining Strength. Founded in 2014, Reining Strength Therapeutic Horsemanship provides equine-assisted services for people ages 2 and up, children and adults, with physical, cognitive, social, or emotional needs. Talking points include different groups that benefit from therapeutic horsemanship, how to get involved as a volunteer, and what the upcoming Derby Day event (May 4) has in store.  

Timecoded Guide: 

[00:00] Podcast begins 

[02:46] Meeting Executive Director Heather & Volunteer/Advocate Noell Myska 

[06:41] Defining therapeutic horsemanship & supporting different community groups 

[13:51] Costs to maintain Reining Strength with 16 therapeutically trained horses 

[18:14] Humble beginnings for RS & how COVID increased demand for equine programs 

[26:43] Creation of the Old 300 competitions at Fort Bend County Fair  

[39:22] Serving groups of all ages, including seniors, children, women & veterans 

[49:21] Join in on the fun & how to attend Derby Day on May 4th  

What is therapeutic horsemanship?  

Addressing an underserved population of Fort Bend County, Reining Strength bridges a very important gap for disabled individuals by providing therapeutic horsemanship. Whether their disability is physical or cognitive, a person taking part in therapeutic horsemanship is given the chance to engage with their body and mind in a safe environment that combines learning and fun. Strengths are developed, talents are discovered, and community is built through the amazing classes run by Heather’s amazing team.  

“We serve children and adults with physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs. It’s not just a pony ride. If someone has cerebral palsy and tight muscles, we put them on a smooth, fluid horse that will help break up that spasticity, versus someone with Down Syndrome needs core strength, we’ll put them on a horse that will help them work hard to use that core.” – Heather 

Who does Reining Strength aim to help with their equine learning programs?  

The mission of Reining Strength is broad on purpose, and Heather enjoys that their mission encompasses so many groups of people with a wide variety of needs. Many of their programs, supported by volunteers and advocates like Noell, aim to help disabled adults and children address the unique struggles they have and develop new strengths. Other programs, particularly within their equine-based learning programs, inspire individuals to develop confidence, trust, and independence.  

“A lot of people ask, could you imagine Reining Strength being what it is today? Growing up in Fort Bend County, I know the community is amazing, that wasn’t a huge surprise, but I never would have pictured serving 450 people here with our 16 horses and a little instructor team.” – Heather 

How can listeners get involved in Derby Day?  

On May 4th, you can join Reining Strength at their annual Derby Day event, which will also celebrate the organization’s 10-year anniversary. Tickets, tables, and sponsorships are available now on their website (linked below) and selling fast! Heather and Noell are so proud of how this event has grown over the years to be the biggest event for Reining Strength, helping them raise vital funds that keep their programs running, grow their services to meet the needs of the Fort Bend community, and maintain the health and wellness of their horses. 

“We have people that came to our very first volunteer orientation 10 years ago, and they are still here volunteering and very active in the program. We have such a wonderful community out there, you’ll meet people from all different walks of life, get to be around horses, and make a difference in people’s lives.” – Noell 

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Born in the Bend is sponsored by Develop Richmond, and is produced and mixed by the team at Speakerbox Media 

Reining Strength Therapeutic Horsemanship at ReiningStrength.org 

Purchase tickets and learn more about Derby Day (Saturday, May 4): https://www.reiningstrength.org/derby-day 

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