Our Horses

Nine horses currently participate as co-therapists in Equi-Rhythm programs. Four of these are owned by Equi-Rhythm and the others belong to individuals who keep their horses at La Rienda Ranch and have generously offered the use of their horses at no cost to the program. Horses owned by Equi-Rhythm include Caitlin's Dream, Eeyore, Jasara, and Rosie. Privately owned horses include Apple, Lily, Nelson, Storm, and Winnie.


Dream is a palomino quarter horse mare from Bozeman, Montana, born in 2005. Dream is out of a large, reliable registered quarter horse mare (used for hunting and family riding) by a registered (palomino) stallion. She is out of the same mare as Lily (see below). Her previous owner never started her, but said he "just got on her back in the paddock" and she was fine. Dream was donated to the Equi-Rhythm program as a young horse with a great deal of potential to become a good therapy horse because of her unflappable attitude and willingness to learn. She was renamed upon becoming a RMER horse to honor Caitlin Epple, an exemplary young woman who led the 4H club at Joder's before her tragic death in a traffic accident at the age of 18. (See Caitlin Epple Scholarship Fund for more information about Caitlin and the scholarship established in her memory.)


"Uncle" Eeyore was owned by Bill and Dona Larsen of Casper, Wyoming, until he was donated to Equi-Rhythm at the ripe old age of 23 in 2008. Bill raised Eeyore from a colt, picked up on him at rodeos around the western half of the U.S., and used him as a working ranch horse. Dona then rode him in opening rodeo ceremonies, carrying flags at breakneck speeds, galloping around and around the rodeo arenas. By the time Eeyore reached his early teens, the Larsens started turning him out in their winter pastures from October through March to rest in the off season. The winter pastures are big: over 14,000 acres. They check on the horses, if they can find them, a few times per month. One year Eeyore came in with a broken hip that had healed over. Both Bill and Dona were devastated. They decided to let him continue to help out at the ranch by raising all of their youngsters in the winter pasture. Thus he earned the nickname "Uncle" Eeyore. When RMER moved to La Rienda Ranch, Eeyore was retired to The Farm in Longmont, owned by Stacy Bluhm and Thom Rosen. He is sponsored there by the James Dooley Foundation and Julia and Jerry Rudy.


Jasara is a 17-year-old gray Arabian gelding. According to Bob Joder, Jasara's previous owner, "Jasara had his beginning in conversations I had with Dr. Butley. The good doctor suggested that I should breed two or three more times to ensure that I would have horses at least for my lifetime. I was reluctant but eventually followed that advice and by the time the city of Boulder purchased Joder Ranch, I found myself with only one horse, Jasara. Jasara was bay when he was born but soon showed his true gray color like his sire, Lucky. Born in 2000, Jasara is a gelding with a wonderful personality. I have seen him in situations where horses easily spook but he keeps his cool. He is a 'get along' kind of horse." When Bob Joder moved to assisted living in 2013, it was with great sadness that he realized he needed to find a new home for Jasara, so he donated him to Equi-Rhythm. Jasara has turned out to be a very good therapy horse, relating especially to children, with whom he forms a special bond. We were saddened by Bob's passing in February of 2017.


Rosie is a 15-year-old quarter horse mare. Rosie came to the Equi-Rhythm program from Sombrero Ranch in Boulder, Colorado, as a lease horse for summer camps when Equi-Rhythm's home was at Joder Ranch. Rosie was named by the camp children. She would return in the fall to Sombrero Ranch and then return to the Equi-Rhythm program the next summer, sponsored by the Sander-Ferracane family who subsequently created the non-profit Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (www.greatescapesanctuary.org), with whom RMER partners in programming. Rosie was purchased by Equi-Rhythm in 2014.

Why Horses?

Why does Rocky Mountain Equi-Rhythm ask horses to be part of our program? For many reasons, they are perfectly suited to help us help our clients:

  • Horses provide the opportunity to have a relationship with another living creature.
  • Horses require being “in the moment,” hard work, responsibility, communication skills, and assertiveness.
  • Horses are honest. Their reactions provide a powerful evaluative and intervention tool. Individuals seem to be able to hear a message and apply it to other life situations if it is in the context of their interaction with the horse.
  • Horses have the ability to mirror human body language. Statements such as “the horse doesn’t like me” provide opportunity for individuals to discover that if they change how they interact with the horse, the horse will respond differently towards them.
  • Like humans, horses are social animals. Horses have defined roles/jobs in their herd and have individual characteristics. Horses, like humans, do not all respond the same way to a situation. Horses provide countless opportunities to use metaphors with youth and often parallel what is going on with that individual.
  • Horses create a learning environment that allows direct interaction between adults and youth, where the horse is the teacher and all the rest are students.
  • Horses are awesome creatures both in size and power. From the first interaction, two components are set in place: the youths are removed from a comfortable setting where their problem behavior works for them. They are in a highly structured setting where their safety depends on listening and following rules. This sets the stage for effecting change.
Horses, like many other animals, have telepathic abilities based on the bond they have with other horses and humans. They are powerful spiritual creatures.


Our Horses- Continued

Equi-Rhythm is grateful to have the following, privately owned horses, who live at La Rienda Ranch, take part in our programs. We thank their owners for allowing their participation.

APPLE: Owner Melinda Leach

According to Melinda, "As the fortunate owner of Apple, I will tell you how he got to be a member of the Equi-Rhythm herd. I used to live in the foothills of the Rockies in Coal Creek Canyon, west of Arvada. I joined Star Peak Stables and a group of us rode on trails, often above 10,000 feet. Since childhood, I had longed to own my own horse, preferably a sorrel after reading, over and over, My Friend, Flicka by Mary O'Hara. My lifelong dream came true in the Spring of 2010 when I got Apple, a beautiful chestnut. My instructor had found him at the age of six running free in a pasture near Evergreen, along with a palomino mare, Sugarbeets. She inquired about the horses and found that the owners had taken in the horses, but had no idea how to care for or ride them. My instructor bought them both and gave them both loving homes. My daughter and I rode and cared for Apple for a few years in the mountains, but when our family moved to Boulder, we brought him to Equi-Rhythm and La Rienda. He is enjoying the weather and green pastures and particularly likes to work with the people at Equi-Rhythm."

LILY: Owner Reilly Dhaliwal

Born in 2002, Lily is a minimal paint quarter horse mare. She is a dark bay with a large, wide blaze that touches her eyes. She has a very sturdy, classic quarter horse type build. Lily is out of a large, reliable registered quarter horse mare (used for hunting and family riding) and is by a registered paint stallion. She is out of the same mare as Caitlin's Dream. Prior to being donated to Equi-Rhythm, she was started and given 60 days of Buck Brannaman-style natural horse training a few years ago. She was accepted into the RMER program for her potential to be a solid and reliable therapy horse but was purchased by the Dhaliwal family in the fall of 2014. Reilly has shown Lily with great success at 4-H events.

NELSON: Owner Wren Schauer

Nelson is a 15-year-old quarter horse gelding. Nelson came to the Equi-Rhythm program with Rosie from Sombrero Ranch in Boulder, Colorado, as a lease horse for RMER summer camps when Equi-Rhythm's home was at Joder Ranch. Nelson was named by the camp children after George Washington's horse. He would return each fall to Sombrero Ranch and return again the next summer to the Equi-Rhythm program for summer horse camps. He was purchased by Wren Schauer in 2014.

STORM: Owner Caroline Roy

According to Caroline: "Storm is an eleven-year-old Percheron/Morgan mare that was given to me by Susan Huston. Susan bought Storm when she was eighteen months old, along with her sister, Glacier, both named after mountain peaks in Colorado. Susan stated that she bought both horses from Irma Heil as prospect cart horses and they both had extensive training in natural horsemanship in addition to time under saddle when they lived at her ranch. I have always had the dream to have a sleigh horse and Storm was like a dream come true, coming into my life at a perfect time. I have begun working with Storm to train her, along with trainer Carson Sander Ferracane, to pull logs, sleds, and eventually a cart and sleigh. I have just purchased a one-horse, open sleigh from Lasso Horse Rescue and have hopes of giving sleigh rides during the next holiday season in downtown Niwot, Colorado."

WINNIE: Owner Alexa Schild

Winnie's former trainer tells the following story about Winnie: "We found Winnie at a Shire breeding farm in Rifle, Colorado. When we got there, three little boys no older than 10 were tromping out to the field with a bucket and a halter. Their mother said that they all go to the field, halter the horse, all climb up on the bucket, and ride Winnie around the field together. Perfect! We rode her, jumped her, had a pre-purchase exam done, and that day took her home to Boulder. She has been so wonderful for the past several years. She loves to jump, and jump big! She stands about 16 hh and is all black with four white socks and a blaze. She was bred in Franktown, out of a TB mare in 1992. She has been the perfect horse for Alexa."