Horses have incredible hearing, with the ability to hear the heartbeat of a human from four feet away. In the wild, horses will synchronize their heartbeats to the other horses in the herd in order to sense danger more quickly. Studies have shown that domesticated horses will also use this tactic when interacting with humans, synchronizing to our heartbeats, thus sensing slight adjustments in our mood.
HAPI Trails has used a similar technique when working with troubled horses, consciously calming our heartbeat in an effort to help calm a new horse entering our program. We’ve also used a synchronizing method during many of our equine-assisted therapeutic sessions, with the goal of helping a person become more mindful of their own heartbeat and their surroundings.
As we emerge from an unusual 2020, we can thankfully say the heartbeat of our organization is still beating strong and calm, even with the range of panicked to quiet heartbeats we experienced in 2020. It was because of our community, our volunteers and the ever-present support of the Community Foundation of Teton Valley. The Community Foundation of Teton Valley was able to adjust how they interacted with our community, in all aspects, and never miss a beat. Their heart kept pumping the life blood into our local nonprofits.
HAPI Trails was able to pick up on their heartbeat, always feeling a calm, fluid and steady we-will-get-through-this-together rhythm. Having that immeasurable support, we adjusted how we interacted with our volunteers, how we fundraised and how we reached out to our community, keeping safety and respect front and center. We kept our heartbeat focused on our mission… Helping horses in need and assisting horse owners as best we could. Our goal was to help owners keep their horses and community members met that goal by offering extra hay to those that were low and providing extra pastures to those who pastures were no longer producing.
The beat could have changed drastically without the opportunities to hold in-person fundraisers and share our horses with our supporters. We had to rely on old-school mailings and on-line communication to get the word out and request the funds we needed to keep going. The Tin Cup Challenge was truly challenged in not having the day of events to showcase the nonprofits. Just like all those that donated to our cause, the Community Foundation also proved they could go above and beyond, raising a record amount for our local nonprofits. HAPI Trails exceeded our previous years Tin Cup fundraising and ended the year by exceeding 2019’s funding., We met our barn’s capital campaign goal and received grants from eight different foundations. We became certified in Code 3 Animal Disaster Response (offered by PAWS), provided ‘Wednesday Night Rides’ and hosted 4 educational clinics for our equine community, offered our 4H Horses for the Horseless and we oriented 15 new volunteers. Maybe best of all for 2020… we rescued 6 new horses and found new homes for 10 of the horses in our program!
Our supporters continued giving and our organization continued growing… because of this incredible community, our (heart)beat goes on. Thank You!