Between Horses and Humans – About The Program

Between Horses and Humans is a leadership through horsemanship program for able-bodied children and youth aged 8 to 24.  Students participate in a variety of workshops and lessons with volunteers or Program Director Barbara Slade.  The program provides a place for students to learn important life skills and develop confidence.

Participants work with their horses one-on-one doing body work, ground work, and riding.  They are given the freedom to explore, fail, succeed, and persevere.  Different techniques and obstacles are used to keep the children and horses engaged and interested.  Students experience the joy and pride of accomplishment when working with the horses.  Self esteem is built through mutual respect and helping students to feel valued.

Things don’t always go as expected.  You can see a young student struggling to get his horse to move.  He is given the freedom to problem-solve and find his own solution.  He is patient and perseveres through the situation and finds his own solution.

Program participation is free to all students, and is funded solely through donations and grants.  Amazing volunteers donate their time and talents to run the program.  The mission of the program is Lives Changed, Hearts Healed, and with every lesson, workshop, and seminar the program’s director, volunteers, students, and horses live out that mission.


BHH Beginnings

BeginningsBetween Horses and Humans has come a long way from it’s beginnings in 2004.  The program was started by a local Douglas County resident.  She wanted to fund a program where trainers/clinicians worked with competitive riders to help the trainers learn different ways of working with horses.  The goal was to better the human and horse relationship.  The method was to “train the trainer”: participants would pass what they had learned on to their students.

The early days of the program consisted of scarce resources and simple methods.  There was no dedicated facility for trainers and competitive riders, and the program owned no horses.  Participants worked out of the barns where the trainers worked, and the students owned their own horses.

Barbara Slade, current President and 38-year professional horseman, was involved with the Between Horses and Humans program from the beginning.  She became co-president along with the founder in 2008 when the founder planned to close the foundation.  Barbara took the reins (pun intended) in 2009 and hasn’t looked back since.  She came with a fresh perspective and new goals for the program.

I can and I willBarbara talks about her inspiration for BHH back then. “One morning I picked up the paper and saw that an 11-year-old had hung himself.  I was shocked and filled with dismay.  Then I spoke with someone whose child couldn’t find the strength and courage to get out of bed and face another day of being bullied.  Yet another conversation tugged at my heart-strings: a child was so devastated by the unexpected death of a parent they completely shut down, no longer wanting to talk or smile or play, becoming despondent and angry.  So I asked myself, “What difference could I make in the lives of children who are suffering?””  BHH became the answer to that question.  Barbara directed her energies towards using the program to work with children with difficult life situations, personal challenges, social, emotional and behavioral issues.  The mission became “providing a place for youth to learn leadership and life skills through horsemanship”.

Since its inception BHH has helped approximately 500 children and young people, along with their families, to learn, grow, love, smile, and lead themselves to a bright future.  The future of BHH is bright too.  Volunteers, board members, students, parents, horses, donors and supporters are building a community of support around BHH to ensure it continues to provide valuable resources to meet the needs of young people in our community.

You can become a part of the BHH community today.  Leave a comment, like us on Facebook, share our blog, or leave a donation.

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Leadership through Horsemanship; Lives Changed, Hearts Healed


Between Horses and Humans provides Douglas County, Nevada and the surrounding area youth a safe and fun place to learn leadership and life skills through horsemanship. The program is a 100% donation funded non-profit program that pairs able-bodied children and youth ages 8 to 26 with equine partners: children who need help with self esteem, anger, aggression or emotional issues.  The program’s goals are to have happy children and horses with self esteem, confidence,  patience, trust, and kindness.

The skills being taught provide a way for the students to approach life’s challenges and questions, helping them feel more secure in their decisions, building their self-esteem, helping to create positive attitudes and helping them embrace life with more confidence.  They feel connected to the horses and other students, learning how to value, honor and respect horses and humans in ways they hadn’t imagined.  They develop horsemanship skills, leadership skills and social skills, but most importantly, they will become inspired leaders and generous of heart.

Because of the program’s generous donors ALL activities are FREE to participants so no one excluded.

072The classes and workshops are fun and educational.  Participants develop through specific leadership courses, six-week private courses, half and full day workshops, and seminars.  A variety of methodologies are utilized, combining hands-on ground exercises, equine body work and riding, along with workshops and seminars, to accomplish the mission of “providing youth a place to learn leadership and life skills through horsemanship.”  Instructors are primarily volunteers who have a heart for service, horses, and improving the lives of children.

Students are selected to participate in the program by the Board of Directors, and come to the program by referral from social service organizations, public and private schools, educators, counselors, parents, foster parents, and other individuals. They have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences from abuse to behavioral issues to difficulty adjusting to divorce, foster or adoptive homes other life-altering events.

Programs encourage students to understand and develop a working relationship with the horses.  Students are encouraged to explore what works and doesn’t work in their relationships with their horses: they have the freedom of experimentation, enjoying success, experiencing failure, and being empowered to make their own decisions. They learn to come from the heart and to build a partnership with their equine partner rather than dominate and control them.

On average, the program positively impacts the lives of 80 children per year.  An incredibly generous gesture from Ruth Page and Greg Walsh in 2013 provided the use of Maddi’s Friesian Ranch at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to house the program’s horses and to host the program.  The Ranch is the largest friesian breeding operation in north America. The facility provides stables, an arena, a round pen, and open pastures where children can work with the horses.  Between Horses and Humans owns two well-trained and loving horses and has the privilege of using several privately-owned horses generously provided by their owners.  You’re invited to read more about our horses.

Between Horses and Humans is a valuable program facilitating real change in the lives of local youth.  The horses, volunteers, generous donors of both money and resources, referral sources, Board of Directors, and program participants form a community of love, support, and change.  Be a part of the community today – read our blog, donate, or leave a comment.  Heck, do all three!