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Published by the Hill Country Sun.


Dripping Texas For Springs, advertising, call 512-484-9716

or email

May 2014


Groundbreaking equine therapy at RED Arena


By Laurel Robertson

n her second birthday, the neurologist told her parents she’d never walk on her own - not to worry about that right now and to focus on other things. “Then we stumbled across this thing called equine therapy,” explains her mom. “We brought her out for her first ride and after an hour on the horse, she got off and took her first steps over to my husband. She’d never walked before....” Now seven, the girl runs and jumps and still rides in the equine therapy program at RED Arena in Dripping Springs. RED stands for Riding Equines for the Disabled and the 20-acre facility on Bell Springs Road is one of a only a handful of programs in the Austin area that offers this groundbreaking therapy (also known as “hippotherapy”) for children and adults with physical and developmental

issues, including autism, Down’s Syndrome and head and spinal cord injuries. Sitting on a moving horse helps develop core strength, balance and coordination, says physical therapist and the director of RED Arena Jennifer Young. The rhythmic motion of the moving horse also calms the senses so riders can focus on eye contact and verbal communication, she adds. Learning to control an animal as large as a horse builds confidence and self-esteem in the rider. The smiles on the faces of the kids during their equine therapy sessions says it all. “A kid who uses a wheelchair all day looks just like every other kid when they’re on a horse,” says Jennifer. To help cover the costs of the $175/ hour therapy sessions astride a horse, the non-profit organzation raises money See RED ARENA, page 2

RED Arena rider Cadee. Photo courtesy RED Arena.



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RED ARENA, from page 1 through donations, sponsorships and fundraisers so that every participant, child or adult, receives a full or partial scholarship. Each year, on the first Saturday in June, the organization pulls out all the stops for the RED Arena Round-Up, their biggest fundraiser of the year. In 2013, over 60 riders of all abilities participated, with more than 500 in attendance. This year’s Round-Up takes place at the Arena June 7 from 9 am to 1 pm. All kids in the community, with or without disabilities, are invited to bring their horse to the walk-trot, open playday show, geared toward beginner riders and lead-line riders. Fun and games will include ring races, trail competitions, and a horseback version of Musical Chairs. Winners and runnersup receive trophies and ribbons; everyone gets a RED Arena t-shirt. There will be family games and crafts including a fishing booth, a hayride, face RED Arena rider, William, and his winning painting, and mini horses to pet. Food be- ribbon on Sunny. Photo courtesy RED Arena. gins with breakfast tacos and proceeds through barbeque and snowcones. An iPad Air will be raffled off and the Silent Auction includes wonders such as a Dell Android tablet, dinner for ten at Verde’s, Dooney & Burke purses, certificates for horse riding camps, horse tack, riding apparel and more. In the week leading up to Round-Up, two events will get the fundraising ball rolling. Saturday, May 31, Mercer Street Dancehall will devote part of the evening’s regular fun to a RED Arena Kick-Up Party featuring a live auction with SW Airlines tickets, a Saltlick Cellars wine party for six, an Ultimate UT Sports Package, and a weekend stay at the Hyatt. There will be raffles and a special presentation for Round-Up sponsors. Sarah, RED Arena Rider of the Year, with her PATH At the Silent Auction instructor, Emily McShan. Photo courtesy RED Arena. Preview Party at the Arena on Thursday evening, June 5, guests can get a sneak peek at all “Until you see it, you don’t really get the items in that Saturday’s huge Silent it,” says Jennifer. “There is nothing quite as Auction and enjoy complimentary wine amazing as seeing kids light up while they and snacks from Westcave Cellars. A new are being physically strenthened, cogni“Take It Now” option will enable high tively stimualted and emotionally empowbidders to win auction items before the ered on the back of one of these incredible Round-Up. therapy horses!” Proceeds from all three events will FYI • RED Arena Round-Up is Saturday, June 7, from 9 provide scholarships for disabled riders am to 1 pm at RED Arena, 1601 Bells Springs Road. The Kick-Up and upgrades to the facility. In addition to Party is Saturday evening, May 31 at Mercer Street Danceserving disabled children, RED Arena of- hall, 332 Mercer Street. The Silent Auction Preview Party (free fers equine therapy programs for veterans, to the public) will be Thursday, June 5 from 5 pm to 7 pm at life skills training in barn management RED Arena. Sponsorships and donations are still welcomed. and horse care for disabled adults, and For more information about RED Arena and the Round-up, equestrian summer camps for kids with including entry forms, visit the web site at, email disabilities. or call 512-807-6505.

May 2014 RED ARENA from page 2 DON’T MISS!

Beginners’ Classes Mon & Thurs (6:30-7:30 pm) and Yoga Pump (yoga & weights) Thurs nights

On a Healing Journey? Coping with cancer, an immune disorder, chronic fatigue, depression, over-weight – whatever… YOGA for YOU’s newest classes are for individuals recovering from the trials and tribulations of illness, disease, or diminished stamina and strength. These classes are life-enhancing in every respect – through breathwork and gentle movement you will be renewed, restored and rejuvenated. Payton races to the finish line on Bella, led by board member Andrea Wenholz. Photo courtesy RED Arena.

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301-YOGA (9642) Call Elaine for more info. Join us for a celebration of thanks to our Lord for 100 years of worship and praise

Saturday, May 17, 2014 11:00 AM Celebration Service Preacher: Don Forrester Special Music Provided

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Join us for a meal following the service. Contribute a story and/or photos to our congregational history display!

RSVP by May 3, 2014 Questions?

The joy is evident in RED Arena rider Diana’s face, as she receives her place ribbon after a strong finish in musical horses while riding Sven. Photo courtesy RED Arena.

Evelyn DeMoss 512-848-4736


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By Laurel Robertson

about,” writes grandson Stephen Elsner hat vivid dream she had six weeks in his memoir of growing up at the Elsner ago might be the last full night’s Ranch. sleep Ann Passino has gotten Since the morning of her decisive since. When she woke the next morndream, Ann’s been so busy painting walls, ing, she drove straight over to the house shopping estate sales and thrift stores for on Farm Market 150 she’d seen in such unique furnishings, and pulling together detail in her dream and called the real Bella Nido that she’s been sleeping very estate agent on the sign that said “unsoundly (if somewhat shortly) whenever der contract.” Sure enough, the contract she can manage time away from the new had fallen through just hours before and enterprise and her full-time job as Head the next thing they knew, she and her husband Andrew were signing papers to buy the historic 1905 bungalow with the iconic stone barn. Within four short weeks, they would turn the place into Bella Nido, the Bed and Breakfast of her dream. The house and barn, built by A. A. Elsner in the early 1900s, was the original homestead for one of the largest and most important ranches in the area, spanning Ann and Andrew Passino. Photos courtesy Bella Nido. more than a thousand acres along Onion Creek. of Admissions at Hill Country Care. The two-story barn, built of wood “Beween the two, I’ve been working and white limestone and topped with a 16-18 hours a day,” she reports, “and lovtin roof, was and still is a landmark in ing every minute of it. They’re both labors the community. of love - though I may end up wearing a “When you describe the location bridesmaid’s dress to work if I don’t get of the ranch to someone, all you have some time to do laundry!” she exclaims. to do is mention the stone barn and When he can take time away from See BELLA NIDO, page 5 they know exactly where you’re talking

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Home built by A. A. Elsner in the early 1900s, now Bella Nido. Photos courtesy Bella Nido.

May 2014

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Warm and inviting Bella Nido bedroom, living room and dining room. Photos courtesy Bella Nido. his sales job, Andrew has been consumed with general carpentry and fix-its, along with creating a web site and logo for the incipient enterprise. His artistic bent with wood, leather and jewlery is evident in the handcrafted details he’s added to the house that was fully redone by a previous owner 12 years ago. The historic house and barn, say the Passinos, feel less like “their place” and more like a community treasure that they’re honored to care for and share. With plans to add two more units to the present four bedrooms/four bath structure in the next year, they feel it’s important to preserve its authentic style and historic importance. This is not the couple’s first experience with Ann’s prophetic dreams. “I’ve come to expect that those will happen at important times in my life,” claims the willowy dynamo. “I’ve learned to pay attention to them.” Another prophetic dream (she says

Bella Nido Bed and Breakfast. Photos courtesy Bella Nido.

she’s had six or seven in her life) involved a college roommate she hadn’t seen or communicated with in 12 years. “One night, I had a very vivid dream about her having a baby. When I called her out of the blue the next morning, she couldn’t talk because she was in the hospital delivery room...” This is also not their first experience with running a bed and breakfast. 20 years ago, when they were both holding down multiple jobs and had two small children with one on the way, the Passinos owned a bed and breakfast in Johnson City. “It was a crazy time,” recalls Ann, mustering a smile. Now with kids grown and away from home and just one job apiece, this new bed and breakfast venture seems almost sane, she says. The name Bella Nido comes from a fond memory Ann has of growing up as the baby in a family of eight children. “With so many kids, there was very little one-on-one time with my mom,” she recalls. But when they were sick, she says, her mother would build them their own bella nido, “little nest” on the couch and pamper them with their favorite food, stuffed animals, books and - most importantly - her undivided time and attention. “That’s how I want each of my guests here to feel,” Ann explains, “like they’re in their own little bella nido.” FYI • Bella Nido Bed and Breakfast is located at 23351 Farm Market 150, next to Twisted X Brewery. For more information and to make reservations, visit the web site at or call 512-584-5088.

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Dripping Springs Calendar EVERY SUNDAY • Live Jazz Brunch at the Nutty Brown Cafe. SECOND and FOURTH SUNDAY • Drippin’ Dancin’. BYOB and food. Barn at Bell Springs, 4000 Bell Springs Road. 7 pm to 10 pm. Dance lessons 6 pm to 7 pm. $7 cover. www. EVERY MONDAY • Rotary Club. 11:45 am at Creek Road Cafe. 301 West Highway 290, 512-6267673, www.drippingspringsrotary. org. • Boy Scout Troop 280 meets at St. Martin de Porres Church Hall. 512-904-0444,, SECOND MONDAYS • Group of Dripping Springs (GODS) Moms meets at Dripping Springs Methodist Church 9 am to 11:15 am. 512-894-0581. FOURTH MONDAYS • Artists of Dripping Springs. Gatherings at area studios. 512-8940394. • Gen. Ben McCulloch 2435, UDC meets at the Veterans Hall, 27500 Ranch Road 12 at 7 pm. Call Sharon Hudson at 512-858-7177. MONDAY through THURSDAY • Discovery Day School. mmilligan@ EVERY TUESDAY • Toastmasters Dripping Springs. 6:30 pm. Pioneer Bank Building Conference Room. Call Mike at 214-339-3237. • Dripping Springs Property Tour. 512-579-7711, dshometour@gmail. com. SECOND, THIRD, FOURTH TUESDAYS • Dripping Springs Boy Scout Troop 101 meets. Dripping Springs United Methodist Church. 7 pm. Tom Chenault at 512-707-7488. FIRST and THIRD TUESDAYS • Lions Club meets. 6 pm at Flores Restaurant. Call Sharon at 512-8585159. SECOND TUESDAYS • Friends of the Dripping Springs Community Library. 11 am at the library. Contact Bobbie Hentschel@512-771-3217 or for information and volunteer opportunities. EVERY WEDNESDAY • Dripping Springs Farmers Market. The Triangle (Highway 290/ Ranch Road 12) 3 pm to 7 pm. EVERY WEDNESDAY • Awana. Wednesday. Henly Baptist Church. SECOND WEDNESDAY • Free Alzheimer’s Support Group meets at Arveda Alzheimer’s Family Care, 11013 Signal Hill Drive. RSVP to 512-637-5400.

EVERY THURSDAY • Hill Country Jam at Mercer Street Dance Hall with Doug Moreland. Free. 7:30 pm. www.mercerstreetdancehall. com. • Thyme and Dough Bistro Nights with live music, dinners and decadent desserts. 6 pm to 9 pm. 512-894-0001. • Henly Baptist Church JOY (Just Older Youth) Club meets at 9:30 am. www. FIRST THURSDAYS • Dripping Springs American Legion 7 pm. 512-858-5637. FIRST AND THIRD THURSDAY • Lions Club meets at 131 East Mercer Street. 512-858-5159. SECOND THURSDAYS • Knights of Columbus, Council 11695, meets at the St Martin de Porres Parrish Hall on Post Oak Road, at 7:30 pm . Preceeded by a pot luck dinner. THIRD THURSDAYS • Dripping Springs Cookoff Club. Meets at 6:30 pm in the VFW Hall in Dripping Springs. ryoncrew@yahoo. com. • Dripping Springs VFW meets. 27500 Ranch Road 12. 7 pm. 512-858-5637. • Thirsty Thursday meets at 7 pm . New Life Lutheran Church at 120 Frog Pond Lane off Highway 290. Poets, musicians, songwriters and storytellers share. 512-858-2024. FOURTH THURSDAY • Photographers of Dripping Springs (PODS). Dripping Springs Community Library. 6:30 pm. 512-524-7897. EVERY FRIDAY • Men’s Breakfast at Fitzhugh Baptist Church. 6:30 am. 512-913-4808. • Free wine tasting and art gallery. 5 pm to 8 pm at Cedar Valley Spirits. www. FIRST SATURDAY • Low Cost Pet Vaccinations at Tractor Supply. 512-858-7229. EVERY FRIDAY & SATURDAY • Dance Lessons at Mercer Street Dance Hall. Begin at 7:30 pm. More information at 512-858-4314. SECOND & FOURTH SATURDAY • P e t A d o p t i o n S p o n s o re d b y Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary. Tractor Supply. 512-402-9725. MAY 2 • Finger Pistol. Live music at Mercer Street Dance Hall. www. MAY 3 • Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash. Live music at Mercer Street Dance Hall. MAY 10 • Michael Myers. Live music at Mercer Street Dance Hall. www. MAY 17 • Mitch Jacobs Band. Live music at Mercer Street Dance Hall. www. See CALENDAR, page 7

May 2014

Dripping Springs Calendar cont. • Henly Baptist Church’s 100-year Anniversary Celebration. 11 am to 2 pm. RSVP by May 3 to henlybaptist@ gmail. com, 512-848-4736. • Dripping Springs Christian Academy’s Spring Gala at Dripping Springs United Methodist Church. Silent auction, BBQ dinner, and entertainment. Tickets are $25. Call 512-858-9738 for information or to purchase tickets. 6 pm to 9 pm.  MAY 2 • Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars. Live music at Mercer Street Dance Hall. MAY 3 • American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Team members take turns walking the track throughout the evening in support of or in memory of someone they know who is fighting cancer, has survived cancer or they have lost to cancer. Food, music, family activities all evening. Free and open to the public. Dripping Springs Ranch Park Arena and Event Center. 512-789-6160. MAY 7 • Family Talk About Drinking. Dripping Springs Community Presentation to Discuss Underage Drinking and Responsible Choices. All area students, parents, educators and community members are encouraged to attend. Featuring M.J. Corcoran. Dripping Springs High School Lecture Hall. 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm . ABFamilyTalk. MAY 15 • DS Kids Fun Foundation 5th Annual Golf Tournament fundraiser at Falconhead Golf Course. The tournament is a 4-person scramble with a 1 pm shotgun start. BBQ dinner, prepared by the DS Presbyterian Church Holy Cow Cook-Off Team, and a performance by DSHS Jazz Orchestra. MAY 25 • Photographers of Dripping Springs P r i n t S h o w. Tr u d y ’ s F o u r S t a r (Highway 290 West) 3 pm to 7 pm . Meet Artists and see latest works from juried show. For information, visit or find Photographers of Dripping Springs on Facebook. MAY 31 • RED Arena Kick-Up Party at Mercer Street Dance Hall. Live auction of Southwest Airline Tickets, Saltlick Cellars Wine Party for six, Ultimate UT Sports Package and Hyatt weekend stay, raffles and more. www.redarena. org. JUNE 5 • Silent Auction Preview in the RED Arena Barn 5 pm to 7 pm. Enjoy gree Westcave Cellars wine and snacks and be the first to see the huge silent auction. “Take it Now” options so you can win your items before Round-Up.

JUNE 7 • Red Arena Round Up. Come cheer on the RED Arena riders and kids from the community competing in fun playday rodeo events. Your support makes the day extra special and helps fund programs all year. JUNE 11 • Burke Center for Youth Fun-Raiser at Dripping Springs Ranch Park. Barbecue dinner, silent auction, live auction and dance featuring Grammy award winner Susan Gibson. Proceeds will be used to build an additional dormitory to provide a safe environment for 20 additional young men and boys whose lives are at-risk. 6:30 pm to 11 pm. www., 512-557-3888. JUNE 27 • Brent Thurman Memorial Cowboy Reunion, Auction and Dance. Music by Michael Myers. Mercer Street Dance Hall. JUNE 28 •16th Annual Brent Thurman Memorial Bullriding Dripping Springs Ranch Park Event Center. Sponsorships available. Email Denise at dhenley2@ Exceptional Rodeo begins at 6 pm. PBR starts at 7:30 pm. FYI • For information on any calendar event, call the Chamber at 512-858-4740.

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Discover Dripping Springs, issue May 2014  

Discover Dripping Springs, issue May 2014