Our Healing Herd
Horses are sentient beings, with unique temperaments, experiences, and interactions in the herd. Each member of the Bridle Paths herd offers participants special opportunities for mindful presence, relational interactions, skill building, and authentic connections.
Admiral (2005) is the gentle giant of the Bridle Paths herd. A Percheron/Thoroughbred cross standing 17.3 hands high, our herd boss boasts a quiet and kind temperament and a larger than life personality and a delightful sense of humor. He lends riders confidence in mounted sessions, and his sensitivity and intuition are also assets in the psychotherapy program . In October 2017, Admiral’s hard work with veterans earned him the Klinger Award for Honor and Service at the Washington International Horse Show. The resident escape artist, Admiral spends his free time with his buddies Sunup and Pumpkin and “quality testing” the pasture fences.
Admiral was donated to the program by Dr. Michael Hasz.
Lucy (2005) is a Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred mare from the renowned Art Deco line. Lucy’s flashy good looks and nurturing spirit have endeared her to many of our psychotherapy clients. She can often connect with clients who have experiences of trauma, offering a safe and nonjudgmental relationship. Lucy continues her dressage education at Bridle Paths, and our more advanced riders benefit greatly from her training. Lucy enjoys snacking on pitted cherries and having girl time with Myk.
Lucy was donated to the program by Sally O’Dwyer
Sunup is a 2003 Quarter Horse gelding standing 15.1 hands high. Sunup has had training in both hunters and dressage, and he offers great learning opportunities for our more independent riders. He develops close bonds with his teen and adult clients, and he takes a lot of pride in his work. His quirky and inquisitive nature brings valuable insights in psychotherapy sessions and can have a grounding effect for his clients. In his free time, Sunup enjoys hanging out with Admiral and Pumpkin, and occasionally amuses himself by opening and closing his stall door.
Sunup is free leased to the program by the Fallon family.
Pumpkin (2000) is a Welsh/Thoroughbred cross pony standing about 14 hands high, and he was the first member of the Bridle Paths herd. He comes to us from Connecticut, where he logged lots of miles in the hunter show arena. Pumpkin’s extensive training helps teach the subtleties of seat, leg and rein aids to our students. His sensitivity is also helpful in psychotherapy sessions, as clients learn to read and convey nonverbal cues from the horses. When Pumpkin isn’t working, he likes napping in his stall (and sometimes even talks in his sleep!).
Pumpkin was donated to the program by the Fallon family.
Chance (2002) is a 16.2 hand Belgian Warmblood gelding with extensive experience as an A-rated show hunter and equitation mount, showing up and down the East Coast in his younger days. Chance’s show ring experience, extensive training, and big stride help riders perfect their posting, steering, and balance in the adaptive riding arena. Chance’s focus and ability to get his point across also offers clients myriad insights in our psychotherapy program. Aside from spending time in the paddock next to his friends Caz and Guinness, Chance also enjoys eating apple pie, his favorite treat.
Chance is free leased to the program by the Fallon family.
Myk (2005) is a Belgian Draft/Paint Horse mare standing about 16 hands high. A former hunter and jumper, she loves a nice hack around the property. This sweet beauty has become an indispensable part of our program. Myk participates in all facets of our program, but her gentle spirit and calm demeanor really shine in the psychotherapy arena. In her free time, Myk enjoys a good belly scratch, jelly donuts, and grazing in the field with her friend Lucy.
Myk is free leased to the program by Nina Ghorbani.
Snowy and Thunder
Snowy (2002) and Thunder (2008) are registered Shetland ponies who spent their early years at Lockmoor in Great Falls with Tom Schaaf and the Crippen family. They graced a couple of Virginia farms before landing with Ann Smith, where they were much loved before joining Bridle Paths. This mother-son duo are learning to excel in the psychotherapy program and help volunteers and clients learn the art of compassionate horsemanship. In their down time, Snowy and Thunder enjoy baths and pampering (Snowy) and exploring how everything works (Thunder).
Snowy and Thunder were donated to the program by Ann Smith and Tom Schaaf.
Guinness joined the Bridle Paths herd in June 2022. He is a Gypsy Vanner gelding foaled in 1999 and standing about 15.2 hands high. Gypsy Vanner horses originated in the United Kingdom and Ireland to pull caravans, or wagons; bred to be strong, gentle, and easily trained, the breed counts Shire and Clydesdale draft horses and Dales and Fell ponies in the family tree. Before joining our healing herd, Guinness spent many years fox hunting in Ireland and in Maryland, and training and competing in dressage as well. His kind demeanor, unflappable presence, and versatility have made him a fast favorite among participants and volunteers alike. Guinness enjoys jaunts around the farm with his herd mates Chance and Caz. He’s also happy to remind us where to find his sugar-free treats when he passes the feed room!
Guinness is free leased to the program by Bambi Prigel.
Caz is a 16.2 hand Hanoverian gelding foaled in 2005. Caz competed for many years as a show hunter before shifting gears and joining the Bridle Paths herd. His gentle demeanor and quiet sensitivity have made him a fast favorite for our equine-assisted psychotherapy clients and equine-assisted learning participants, for whom Caz offers the gifts of attunement, acceptance, and understanding. Our adaptive riding students enjoy his big, bouncy gaits and his extensive training, which help to build skills, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. Caz loves spending quiet grazing time with his herd mates Chance and Guinness, and he enjoys the occasional treat of cookies or chips.
Caz was donated to the program by Nichole Jones.
Burrito is a model of her breed, with her distinctive chestnut coat, flaxen mane and tail, and the sturdy build characteristic of the Haflinger ponies that were bred in Austria and Italy to work in mountainous terrain. Her curious, affectionate nature and 13.2 hand height make her a wonderful partner for our younger riding students and our at-risk youth participants as well. Her experience includes time in the hunt field and pleasure riding with her family, and she loves a hack in the great outdoors. Burrito shares a paddock with pony pals Snowy and Thunder, engaged in an ongoing search for the choicest morsels of grass and hay. She was foaled in 2009, making her the youngest member of the herd.
Burrito is free leased to the program by Melissa Donnelly.
We remember past members of the Bridle Paths herd with love and gratitude.
Many thanks to Erin Gilmore for the gorgeous photos of our horses.