Donate to Free Rein Foundation

Free Rein Foundation Reception

What Does Free Rein Mean to Me? Our Volunteers’ Perspectives

COVID-19 brought so many activities to a halt in 2020/2021, and Free Rein was not immune. Clients’ therapy sessions were canceled. Horse rescues were curtailed. Planning for fundraising events was abandoned. Yet at the same time, the number of volunteers doubled. Following strict safety protocols, the volunteers found sanctuary in the Free Rein pasture, caring for the herd. Through their generous support, Free Rein forged ahead.

At a reception on May 27, 25 of Free Rein Foundation’s volunteers gathered at the Free Rein barn, so happy to finally be able to gather and enjoy each other’s company while sipping wine and nibbling on lots of goodies, skillfully prepared by a fellow volunteer. They settled down to hear from Free Rein President Justine Makoff, who expressed her gratitude for the incredible care lavished upon the horses, whose purpose is to heal hurting people. She and Free Rein’s new Volunteer Engagement Expert, Sue Adams, asked those on hand to share, “What does Free Rein mean to me?” Answers were called out and written on posted paper. With each new descriptor added, the highly unique essence of the all-volunteer organization emerged:

Helpful Inclusive Collaborative
Respectful Humble Solution-focused
Passionate Calm Empathetic
Reliable Warm & Friendly Mindful/Present
Trainable Safe Purposeful
Communicative/Good Listeners Consistent Service-oriented
Flexible Caring Compassionate
Team Players Observant/Alert Resilient

Volunteer Lori Hellinger brought a write-up of what Free Rein means to her…

Big brown eyes and lost lashes looking back at me.
Velvety soft muzzles and warm breath upon me.
Earthy scents of horse, hay, grains and droppings, lol.
Sounds of snorts, whinnies, groans and other bodily functions, lol.

It means seeing ears swiveling to and fro, or stand at attention, the swishing of tails swiping flies away, of hooves grinding into the ground and hooves galloping in the soft sand of the round pen.

It means laughing, as upper lips curl from receiving a special treat… or a good neck or belly scratch, in just the right place.

It means making a connection between horses and humans, earning trust and cooperation, both ways.

It means learning about each horse’s needs and personalities and how best to handle and comfort them.

It means sharing laughter and kinship, which all of us now know can develop into lasting friendships.

Free Rein is a place of learning and discovery for the benefit of all.
An opportunity to be out in the fresh and sunshine (or rain, lol).

It helps me get exercise by doing barn chores!
It is being in the spirit of sharing teamwork with others.
It’s a place where we all receive appreciation and thanks for our efforts.
Knowing we are needed and are making a difference in our community.

It’s all about being a special part of the warm and wonderful Free Rein family.

Just behind the barn in the Free Rein pasture, volunteers were delighted to walk over and meet three 2-year-old mustang rescues who had arrived earlier that day. Having turned the corner concerning the pandemic, these gorgeous creatures seemed to symbolize the hope and promise that has never been more alive at Free Rein.