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The Heartland Hoofbeat Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy Back on the Horse Mark Your Calendars! HETRA Movie Night Friday December, 30 First movie starts at 6;00 More info inside!

New Volunteer Training January 14, 2012 Omaha 9:00 to 11:00 Valley 1:00 to 3:00

Start of Course A January 9, 2012

Volunteer Apreviation & Student Award Party January 21, 2012 More information coming soon!

Blue Jeans & Dreams March 31, 2012 Save the Date!!

If you looked up the definition of “Midwesterner” in the dictionary, you might just see a picture of Craig. From his childhood in the Sand Hills of Nebraska to his career teaching youths about agriculture and livestock, organizing a horse program for 4-H groups, and working on his farm, he hardly goes anywhere without his cowboy hat and boots. In January of 2011, Craig was in a head-on car accident and sustained lifethreatening injuries including a traumatic brain injury. His wife, Angeline, vividly recalls the night of the accident: “The doctor was preparing us for the worst and did not expect him to live through the night. When Craig survived the night, the next day the doctor said, „Craig is a fighter. We are going to help him fight‟ – and so we did.” After several months of hospital care including time at the VA hospital, Craig came to QLI. Upon admission, Craig was medically stable, but in rough shape. He was not eating, was using a wheelchair most of the time, could not initiate, could not seem to form a thought or phrase independently, and had some challenges with behaviors. Angeline says, “Our prayer has always been for the right thing to show up at the right time – and that is what has happened.”

Check out the events calendar at for more details!

After arriving at QLI, it did not take Craig‟s team long to find an ideal outreach with a therapeutic purpose for this „cowboy‟ – his passion for horses. QLI‟s Third Dimension 2012 HETRA Calendars staff knew of a local organization named HETRA (Heartland Equine Therapeutic Now Available! Riding Academy, ) and got Craig involved. Angeline recalls: “The first visit to HETRA was tough because I noticed how something that used to come so $15 Each! naturally for Craig was now very difficult due to his injuries. We started by letting him You can purchase a calendar brush the horse, which took a lot of strength and made him stretch and reach from his at either barn or give us a call chair. It also took a lot of redirecting because his attention was so poor. He had to bend and for a small processing fee over to clean the horse‟s shoes, and he almost fell over because his balance was so bad.” we will mail you one! The next two weeks, Craig starting doing „work‟ tasks like cleaning out the stables and Keep in touch with HETRA caring for the horses. His family brought his cowboy hat, boots, and saddle to QLI which he began cleaning and oiling. All the while, he was using and refining the skills at the following Social he was learning in therapy, but Networking Sites: in a way that was motivating for him. On the third week of HETRA and with the help of 4 people, Craig got up on a horse for the first time since his accident. “He looked like a second grader with a candy bar!” says Angeline with a smile, as she recalls seeing the look on his face once he got up on the horse. (continued on pg 2) Craig getting ready to mount his horse Issue 34

December 2011

All of a sudden, things started to come together for Craig. He had a visit from his daughter which spurred his appetite and swallowing progress, he started talking more and initiating communication, he began gaining strength throughout his entire body, and his balance improved to where he no longer needed the wheelchair. He is completing more of his personal tasks independently and has proudly taken on the reputation of being the “cowboy on campus.” He has even become a father figure and horse mentor to a young lady who is also a resident at QLI. He started a „mail journal‟ that includes pictures and stories of the events of his day that he sends back and forth to his children and grandchildren so they can stay connected. For the first time, Craig started feeling like he had his „old self‟ back. “What HETRA and getting Craig involved with horses again did was accelerate his progress,” says Angie. “Getting him involved in his passion and helping him feel like „himself‟ again did wonders for his self-esteem and his confidence, which in turn impacted his physical recovery. But what it did for our children is an entirely different story – for the first time since the accident, our kids have begun to see their father as they are used to seeing him: on a horse, with his cowboy hat on, and doing chores. Not as a fragile patient. It did wonders for our sense of hope, and for the realization that things, although different, would be OK.” Craig and Angie are optimistic that Craig will be able to return to his acreage when he leaves QLI. And each step they make toward that goal becomes an even greater testament to that well know adage about the value of getting back up on that horse again. Thank you to Quality Living, Inc. for sharing this story and photos!

4-H & Riding Clubs Support HETRA

Special thanks to the Bridle & Saddle 4-H Club for their recent donation of cash, gift cards, feed buckets filled with horse items a saddle, and halter! This year HETRA was graced by donations from other area 4-H and saddle clubs including Wahoo Saddle Club, Platte Valley Wranglers 4-H Club and Caballeros Saddle Club. If any 4-H groups would like to tour a barn and learn about HETRA or see your generosity at work, contact


HETRA would like to remember Bill Houston and Susan Fithian. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to both families for their recent loss. HETRA is so honored to be designated to receive memorials in memory of these two wonderful individuals.

Halloween Trail Ride

HETRA would like to extend a HUGE thank you to all the riders who attended the Halloween Trail Ride at Cunningham Lake on October 29, 2011! With your support over $415 was raised for HETRA!! Thanks to Tim & Nancy Kirkpatrick with Lucky D for organizing the event; Steve & Diane Probst with Northwest Feed & Grain for providing the food and grill; Joel Sacks the Grill Master; & Scott Olander the Trail Boss! HETRA was also privileged to have Officers Sungy and Smith, from the Omaha Mounted Patrol along on the ride. Issue 34

Interested in supporting HETRA? Click here to find how you can help!

December 2011

A Successful 2011 Little Britches Horse Show

On August 20, 2011 at the Elkhorn Equestrian Center children, age 12 and under participated in Showmanship, English, Western, Special Needs classes, 6 & under horseless classes, Speed classes, and a Hippology contest. HETRA‟s 10th Annual “Little Britches” Benefit Horse Show was open to all children ages 12 and under. With the help of participants, donors and sponsors this event raised over $8,500. Special thanks to Dave and Sherry Reeble and Pam Thielen for their dedication to the HETRA “Little Britches” Horse Show and Officer Mike Smith of the Omaha Mounted Patrol for spending some time with us. Gabrielle Zeger (age 12), Miss Nebraska Preteen Sweetheart started the Show by singing the National Anthem. We would also like to thank Sam Bliss for his awesome photos! Thanks to event sponsors Scott & Julie Rouse; Vukonich Law and Stephanie O‟Keefe.

Drive To Ride Campaign is Reaching the Finish Line!

So far this year the Drive to Ride campaign raised a total of $22,900.00. HETRA would like to thank all the families, volunteers and staff that worked so hard to help each team reach their goal. This campaign helps to support the student tuition assistance program which benefits all the HETRA students. Each team set a goal and as they reached their goal they earned "free" or discounted services for their student who is participating in the program. Because we had a group of Teams that did not reach their goal we are going to leave their pages up on the HETRA website through the end of the year. Please check out their pages and read their wonderful stories! Below is a list of all the Teams and the amount each team has raised. If you are interested in supporting any of these teams just click on the team name!

Team Alex - $700.00* Team Caroline - $925.00 Team Dalton - $380.00 Team Drew - $9,470.00* Team Ethan - $4,730.00* Team Fernando - $370.00 Team Isabel - $615.00

Team Jack - $2,215.00 Team Jon mari - $810* Team Madeline - $445.00 Team Noelle - $445.00 Team Payton - $495.00 Team Payton H - $585.00 Team Sarah - $310.00

*These teams have reached their goals! All other teams are still seeking donations in order to reach their fundraising goal!

Special Thanks HETRA would like to thank the following businesses for their in kind donations:   

Sue Spohn with Design A Sign for the new HETRA signs at both facilities!

Greg Morris with American Backhoe for donating rock for the Omaha Barn driveway!

Brian Bross with Integrity Hardwood for his continued donation of shavings for our horse stall bedding! HETRA is very grateful for any and all in kind donations at either facility!

Issue 34

Interested in supporting HETRA? Click here to find how you can help!

December 2011

HETRA’s Mission: To improve the quality of life both physically and emotionally of adults and children with disabilities through equine assisted activities.

Valley Roofing Project The recent year of storms had taken their toll on the horse shelter roof at the Valley Facility.

Thanks to Jeff Leonard, who headed up the project and a wonderful group of volunteers the horses now have a solid roof with no leaks to keep them warm and dry for the winter!!! Thanks to the following people who helped with donations of supplies or time for the project: Chris Otto, Greg Limely, Mike Teal, Mudra Construction, Riggs Roofing, ABC Supply, Mr. Whitmore, Steve Henthorn, Paul Glidden, Paul Murphy, and Connie Wichman.

Blue Jeans & Dreams The Blue Jeans & Dreams committees are busy planning our 12th Annual Blue Jeans & Dreams Benefit. This year the event is scheduled on March 31, 2012 at Five Star Stables in Bennington Nebraska. We are very excited for this wonderful event, we have some great new ideas that are going to make the 2012 event the best ever! The sponsorship and auction committee are searching for donations so if you are interested in supporting this event please check out our website at

Great Gift Ideas! HETRA Calendars Sweatshirts Riding Lessons!

2011 HETRA Hay Rack Ride HETRA would like to thank everyone that came out and supported the 2011 HETRA Hay Rack Ride. Over 170 people attended and enjoyed a beautiful (yet windy) evening at Wenninghoff Farm‟s. We would like to send a special thank you to the following Event Sponsors: Jim Hastings with Hanger Prosthetics Barb Barges with Kids on the Move Steve and Diane Probst with Northwest Feed and Grain/Washco Feeds– thanks for providing a yummy meal complete with s’mores!

Issue 34

Interested in supporting HETRA? Click here to find how you can help!

December 2011

HETRA Newsletter Issue 34  

HETRA winter newsletter

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