Some of the special needs we serve:
Anxiety * Depression * Head or Brain Trauma * PTSD * TBI* Victims of Abuse
Mental, Physical or Emotional Trauma can interfere with a person's quality of life
Guiding Reins offers an alternative approach to improve mental and/or physical well-being. Working with horses can create a unique and powerful heart-mind connection between horse and human that can promote self-awareness of mindset, demeanor and behavior to help veterans, military personnel, first responders and/or their family dependents cope with life's challenges and build beneficial and effective relationships.
Horses offer life-changing gifts, helping people with everyday life skills
Because horses are prey animals, they are highly attuned to the environment around them, and are very sensitive to the emotions of their human companions. They are social animals and are willing to engage and build a relationship with their people. The result of this partnership is an unconditional exchange of love, with mutual acceptance, offering wellness benefits to both horse and human!
Shadyview Farm in Campobello, SC
Moving Mountain Stables, Flat Rock, NC
Winding Creek Stables in Tryon, NC
Bright's Creek Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
Born and raised in South Carolina, Diane took her first riding lesson at Lawton Stables on Hilton Head Island when she was 7 and the spell was cast! She continued to work and show horses even thru her college years and was a member of the University of South Carolina Equestrian Team 1984-1988. She then pursued a graduate degree and profession as a Paralegal and started her own freelance business in 1999, Paralegal Resources, LLC. Diane always had to board her horses off site, but had a dream of owning a farm and being able to see her horses in her own pastures someday (one day)?. In 2004, Diane and her husband Tom built Westview Farm in Campobello and the dreams finally came true and they and their horses and ACD Blue Heelers call Westview Farm home. Diane is a long time (13 years) volunteer with TROT (Therapeutic Riding of Tryon), a Board member for FETA (Foothills Equestrian Trail Association) and a board member for the Polk County Health and Wellness Coalition and is thrilled to finally see her vision of Guiding Reins become a reality!
Alicia Sama, Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Instructor, joined Guiding Reins in 2020. Driven by passion and an unmatched work ethic, Alicia took a waning equestrian program in Mill Spring, NC, and grew it by noteworthy proportions in just a short time. Under her leadership, the equestrian center became a location for children and adults alike to enjoy and fully experience the equine world. Her attention to detail and gentle, yet forward instruction enabled her students to grow as riders by leaps and bounds. Alicia’s thriving lesson program brought students from all over the Carolinas.
Over the years she has also made community outreach an important part of her passion for education. Alicia has often collaborated with organizations such as the Pony Club of America, Boy Scouts of America, as well as Girl Scouts of America to offer youngsters the opportunity to learn more about horses and the equestrian industry. Alicia is an integral leader in the fast-growing equine industry in this area and Guiding Reins is thrilled to have her on our team!
Victoria Elson, a certified horsemanship association (CHA) instructor, joined Guiding Reins in the spring of 2021 by offering her facility, ShadyView farm, as one of our locations. She since has joined our program as an instructor. She has been riding from a young age and always had a passion for horses. She has worked in the equestrian industry for the past decade and now runs a lesson program as well as training and boarding at her family farm. She loves being able to share with others the healing and growth that comes from working with horses especially to those who might not normally get an opportunity to work with them. Her love for equine assisted growth and learning started when she interned at Horse Sense of the Carolinas, an equine assisted therapy program, in 2018. Partnering with Guiding Reins is something that is very important to her and she has loved growing with our program as we have evolved and changed.
Mary Stoehr hails from the Windy City of Chicago where no one would dare ride in the winter! After experiencing her first pony ride at a fair she was hooked and begged her parents to buy her one. In order to (hopefully) satisfy her relentless requests her parents sent her to a camp in North Carolina where she learned to jump in both the ring and on outside cross country courses.
After moving to Connecticut after college she bought her first horse and dabbled in eventing competitions while she pursued a career in law enforcement in New Haven. She retired as a detective after 22 years of service to pursue a degree and employment as a speech-language pathologist. After moving to South Carolina with her husband, also a first responder, she continued to work as a speech therapist and became certified as a therapeutic riding instructor with PATH International, with recent CTRI designation.
Now in North Carolina, Mary works as a speech therapist teaching riding skills to children and adults with special needs at Free Rein Center for Therapeutic Riding and Education in Brevard, North Carolina. In January, 2022, she began working with the Guiding Reins organization in order to be able to work with US veterans, the population dear to her heart as a result of her personal and family association with the military.
We want to keep our Guiding Reins community in the loop with program updates, upcoming events, and our quarterly newsletter! Each month, all new subscribers are entered into a drawing to win a Guiding Reins branded hat or t-shirt!