What do you do when one chapter ends?
How "Begin Again" began at ERAF
ERAF was thrilled to receive a Reimagining Racers grant from ASPCA Right Horse. The grant's purpose was aimed at adopting out retired racehorses. We developed and were happy to introduce Begin Again, a new pilot program that created a way to do just that. The intention of the program was to train these retired racers to be suitable partners for Equine Assisted Services and Therapy, so that they may find meaningful second careers in facilities that provide these services.
About our Begin Again Team
We chose 7 of our retired racehorses for this pilot program. ERAF engaged Merriam Mashatt, a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Certified Registered Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning to develop the training with the assistance of our barn manager, Nancy Dunn. Merriam is being assisted in the horse handling part of the program by our volunteer Debbie DeSantis, who brings many years of experience in Equine Therapy Services. With the support of our Board of Directors, ERAF Communications & Development Coordinator, Melissa J. Muller and ERAF Board Member, Robin Doniger, lead the program administration and communications. Begin Again also has the assistance of about 30 of our committed volunteers who are learning to train the horses and continue to work with them now that the program is preparing to expand beyond the pilot. We are in the process of planning the next session to take place in the Fall of 2023. It will be an exciting opportunity for us to engage more horses and volunteers.