Why do you work at M.A.R.E.?
Deborah Durkan, Executive Director/Certified Advanced Riding Instructor:
My parents have always regretted the first time they took me to Badgley’s Farm for a pony ride. A fifty five year old photograph commemorates that day, the day I fell hopelessly and eternally in love with horses. My most treasured childhood memories are of summer rides in the Okanagan Valley that included diving from Misty’s back into Skaha Lake, galloping bareback through blooming peach, cherry and apple orchards and fabulous adventures trail riding in the hills with friends playing cowboys and Indians, hide and seek and pony express. We were wild and free. It is my hope that M.A.R.E. riders have an experience here that provides a sense of wonder and freedom similar to my experience of riding as a child. I love what we have built, I love the people we serve and mostly I love the horses who provide the ride.
Erica Renick, Equestrian Coordinator/Advanced Certified Riding Instructor:
Working at MARE provides me with a way to share my passion for horses with others who may not have otherwise been able to know the unconditional love they have to offer. It’s wonderful to facilitate other people’s independence using such a fulfilling avenue. I like to think of us as “hiding the therapy” with an enjoyable experience.
Ellen Renick, Lesson Assistant/Assistant Barn Manager:
My years working and volunteering at MARE Riding Center have been some of the best in my life. There’s no better feeling in the world to know that this program really helps people, and to see the students’ faces light up when they get on their horse makes all the hard work worth it. It amazes me to actually see the improvement of our students week after week, you can see the healing affect that the horses have. It never occurred to me until I heard about MARE that horses could be used for therapy, then I started looking back on my own time with horses and discovered that they can be therapeutic without you even knowing. I am always happier around my horse, and I love going to work at MARE because I get to be around the horses there. Even the volunteers and staff are impacted by the healing and calming effects of the horses.
Tiffany Pennington, Lesson & Barn Assistant:
I work at M.A.R.E. because it provides me a chance to give back to my community by doing something I love. I started as a volunteer at M.A.R.E. when I was a kid and that evolved into taking riding lessons. I guess, I just could not stay away and now I have a job that is truly fulfilling.
Austin Gameros, Facilities Maintenance:
It’s very simple why I work at M.A.R.E. I love the feeling I get when I help people. Having just been discharged from the Marine Corps, I missed helping and serving people. So, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to help and serve M.A.R.E., the students and other employees I work with.
Lloyd Stapp, Facilities Maintenance:
Having been raised around livestock, I now realize, that “you can take a person out of the country, but, you, cannot take the country out of that person.” At MARE, I see the great accomplishments of therapy and pleasure riding horses in a country setting. These programs are offered to both, younger and older riders. I am proud to be a part of a place like MARE that offers these experiences, ones that I was so fortunate to enjoy throughout my life.
Lewis Gunsolus, Barn Assistant:
I enjoy the awesome people I work with and I love being outdoors. I started out here as a rider, then I volunteered, now I work here, proving that M.A.R.E. rehabilitation really works!
Jill Ogilvie, Development Assistant:
When I first joined MARE, I saw one of their flyers posted at school and thought, what a great organization. I’d always wanted to learn about horses – though was never lucky enough to have one growing up as money was always tight around our house. I thought the two combined, horses and therapy, sounded amazing. So I found myself wandering out to the old facility and who did appear out of the barn mucking stalls – none other than Deb and Diane. That really spoke to me. Here was the executive director and head riding instructor, actually doing the dirty work. I was sold on the program from that point forward. When the leaders are willing to get in the arena and get dirty, I knew this was where I belonged. Not to mention the smiling faces beaming with joy on top of a horse riding tall and enjoying every minute of it.