Congratulations 2014 Award Winners and New Board Members

It was a beautiful fall day and we had a great turn-out for both the Open Barn Day and the Annual Meeting.

Congratulations to the 2014 award winners announced at the annual meeting on Sunday:  Hannah and Jamie Childs, 2014 Lytt Gould Leadership Award recipients;  J.T. Carlin, Paul Burkarth Rider of the Year; Matthew Scotella, Patrick Moreno Sportsmanship Award;  Barbara Ballard, Sally H. Aubrey Award.

We also salute outgoing board member John Catlett and welcome new board members John Evans and Scott Douglas and returning board member Jeff Ridgway.


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Anna Twinney Clinics at High Hopes

Anna Twinney, founder of Reach Out to Horses® and internationally respected Natural Horsemanship Clinician and Trainer, Animal Communicator and Reiki Master, will conduct three days of clinics at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding in Old Lyme, CT October 31 through November 2, 2014:  Learn the Foundations of the Reach Out to Horses Program, A Day of Animal Communication and The Holistic Horsemanship Experience – The Next Step with Anna Twinney. 

For more information about the three clinics and to register please visit or contact Liz Adams, High Hopes Program Manager at, 860-434-1974, ext. 116.


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Anything is Possible – Blessing’s Story

Read all about Blessing, our wonderful carriage driving horse, and his previous life as a racing pacer.

Blessing’s Story

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Riding My Way Back

High Hopes is pleased to announce our screening of RIDING MY WAY BACK. The new award winning, short documentary about the powerful healing of therapeutic riding for a veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury will be screen at 36 Town Woods Road, East Lyme, CT 06371 on November 16th, 2014 during our annual Holiday Market at 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm.

RIDING MY WAY BACK, a short documentary, chronicles one soldier’s journey back from the brink of suicide.  In 2010, Staff Sergeant Aaron Heliker returned from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At his most desperate and isolated, on 42 medications and suicidal, Aaron is introduced to the unlikeliest of saviors:  a horse named Fred.  Through caring for Fred, Aaron begins the difficult process of reconnecting to the world around him and healing the invisible wounds of war that nearly defeated him.  Admission is free with a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

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2014 Holiday Market Nov. 16

Join us as we transform our arena into a holiday marketplace.   More than 50 booths will offer merchandise from some of local Connecticut’s popular craft, jewelry , gourmet food vendors and more, perfect for starting off your holiday shopping.  (Interested in becoming a vendor at this event? Click here to download a vendor application.)  Hungry?  Stroll outside and visit the “hottest” area food trucks including Caseus Cheese Truck, The Local Meatball, and Rolling Tomato!   Keep the family entertained with games, arts and crafts and face painting.  To celebrate Veterans Day we’ll be offering showings of a new short documentary Riding My Way Back, the heartwarming story of a veteran and the relationship with a horse that changed his life.  Admission to the Holiday Market and all these activities  is free with a suggested donation of a perishable food item for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens.   And last, don’t forget to try your luck with great raffle prizes and door prizes.

We are excited to once again be raffling off a beautiful and durable John Deere Gator, along with three other great prizes – a Samsung 60’ HDTV with wifi, 2 tickets to the hit Broadway play, Kinky Boots with an overnight stay at NYC’s Penn Club and a pair of Justin cowboy books from Southern Exposure.

1st Prize – Win A Gator!  What’s A Gator?

Click here see the Gator in action!

2nd Prize – a Samsung 60’ HDTV with wifi

3rd Prize – 2 tickets to the hit Broadway play, Kinky Boots with an overnight stay at NYC’s Penn Club

4th Prize – a pair of Justin cowboy books from Southern Exposure

For more information about the event contact Trudy Burgess at or call 860-434-1974, ext. 123.  Be sure to check our website beginning mid-October for a more complete list of vendors and activities.

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Morning Yoga Practice at High Hopes

Creating Self Awareness through breath, movement, and mindfulness

Where:  High Hopes Classroom

When: Tuesday Mornings 8-9am

Fee: $10 per person

Bring a mat, water bottle, and a blanket for relaxation. ALL LEVEL class with modifications to serve individual needs. COME JOIN THE FUN!!!!

Contact Tracy Blasioli, Kripalu-RYT for more info.

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Volunteer Appreciation Event 2014

We had a blast playing softball, enjoying a potluck supper, and showing our appreciation for our amazing corps of volunteers at the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event on September 27th, 2014.  Even if you were not able to attend this year, we thank you for your service and the spirit you bring to High Hopes.  You make a difference with every hour you support the High Hopes mission!

We want to improve this event in future years.  Please take this quick survey to tell us what type of event you would like to see next year.

The following awards were announced at the Volunteer Appreciation event Sept. 27, 2014.

 Office Volunteer – Judith Rothenberg 

  • Volunteer Since 2012
  • Weekly Hours:  3.8
  • Total Hours:  355

As an office volunteer, Judith’s warmth and bright energy shines through every time she is at High Hopes.  She is a true wordsmith, and has been the behind-the-scenes genius behind many of High Hopes’ most influential communications.  She is willing to help in any way, from filing to creative projects, and she brings the same dedication to every task.  If you noticed the beautiful hand-drawn signs welcoming volunteer back for fall and inviting you to this event, you have appreciated Judith’s artistic talent!  Judith always has a smile and a warm hello for the staff, other volunteers, and her fellow riders.  She truly embodies the spirit and values of High Hopes.

Nancy Cash Program Volunteer – Suzy Bolduc

This award is dedicated to the memory of program volunteer Nancy Cash, whose incredible volunteer spirit will always be with us.

  • Volunteer Since August 2011
  • Weekly hours: 4.5
  • Total Hours:  Just hit 500!

Suzy volunteers in multiple departments including riding program, feeders, special events, and committees.  Suzy is at High Hopes for one role or another almost every day of the week!  She is a skilled sidewalker who builds relationship with riders and fellow volunteers alike.  Suzy’s presence has been a key factor in the success of riders like Cody, who at first was afraid to mount but with Suzy’s patience, warmth and gentle support, (and repeated renditions of “5 little monkeys jumpin’ on the bed!”) now rides weekly with a huge smile on his face.  She has also been valued member of the Volunteer Committee for two years, where she shares fresh perspective and energetically coordinates hospitality volunteers.  She was instrumental in designing and executing this past year’s volunteer appreciation week displays, and she has even gotten involved in auxiliaryevents such as MidSummer Festival, the Lyme Horse Trials, and the Lyme Hunter Pace.  Suzy loves to be at High Hopes, shares her joy with all around her, and is committed not only to the horses and riders, but to the entire organization.

Barn Volunteer of the Year – Paul Kotowski

Juanita, our Barn Assistant who nominated him, “Paul has been coming to feed the horses on Saturday morning for over 5 years. He comes faithfully every week no matter how brutally cold, blistering hot, or inclement the weather may be. He is very helpful to the staff and works really hard. He knows what chores need to be done and cheerfully does them. He willingly does whatever is asked of him whether it be throwing hay down, loading the spreader, cleaning up the runway, fixing fences, or just holding a horse who is having his mane pulled. It is not unusual for him to stay beyond the time he intended to help with a task that needs to be done. He oftentimes will take a young inexperienced volunteer under his wing to help them learn the ropes. Every week when he is thanked for coming and for all his hard work, his reply is always the same – “It’s been a pleasure.””

Davison Youth Service Award-  Lydia Marie Harvey

This award is only given periodically.

Awarded to a person who:

-is 18 or younger

-volunteers in any capacity

-demonstrates exemplary service, above and beyond other volunteers in similar roles

-has contributed significantly in terms of time or service

-shows a commitment to the mission and values of High Hopes

-demonstrates maturity, leadership, or compassion beyond expectations

  • Volunteer Since: June 2010
  • Weekly Hours: 2.5
  • Total Hours: 405

Lydia has volunteered at High Hopes since she turned 12, and has always been a strong and positive addition to the youth volunteer corps.  Over the years, she has grown in her equestrian skills, maturity, and citizenship, and she is now our go-to choice for leading new horses, supporting timid riders, and working independently in the barn.  Instructors have been known to ask for Lydia by name because of her calm, assertive energy.  Though Lydia is quiet, she leads by example; she shows new youth volunteers how to be dependable, thorough, and safe.  Lydia subs or volunteers extra time when asked, and assists not only in riding program but in camps as well.

1000 Hour Pin Recipients: (28 active volunteers have over 1000 hours!)

Barbara Longo

Enjoy these photos from the event!




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Updated Sub Needs

Click here for updated volunteer sub needs.  Please contact the volunteer team to sign up.  Thank you for lending a hand this semester!

Feeders are currently needed on Saturdays – please call Megan at (860)434-1974 if you are interested in becoming a feeder.

Consider volunteering for one of our upcoming special events! Email Megan at for details.

October 19th – Annual Meeting

October 23rd – Fashion Show

November 16th – Holiday Market

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Feeding Volunteers Needed!

The High Hopes Herd is seeking feeders to join our Saturday morning team from 7:45-10 am bi-weekly. If you are interested in trying a new role or looking for a way to get in more horse time, contact Megan at We provide training

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A Saturday at High Hopes


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