Leadership Classes

Between Horses and Humans hosts Leadership classes for 8 weeks each summer. Each class has 10 students, and always starts with a safety check for helmets & proper footwear. Then students introduce themselves to a volunteer, telling them something about themselves.

While I was filming a beautiful girl named Prudence introduced herself to me. She said, “Hi, I’m Prudence. I’m really shy at first but I’m very kind. Once you get to know me I can be pretty crazy too.” What an amazing thing for a shy student like Prudence to approach a complete stranger and display such self awareness ­ many adults I know couldn’t do that!

When introductions are over the students move on to body work, making sure their horse’s coat is in good, clean condition. During this grooming session two students learned how to read the signals Mari gave them. When Mari turns sharply during grooming her owner Cindy asks the students, “Now what did Mari just tell you?” They discuss how Mari is communicating that she doesn’t like to be brushed too hard.

Here you can see Eli cleaning out Mari’s hooves. He shows no fear of being next to such a large animal, and just gets in there and gets the job done. There is plenty of time for the students to pet the horses, groom them, and show them care. When Eli notices a bug bite on Mari’s belly he makes sure she gets some cream for it. However, it’s not always serious business ­ here Program Director Barbara Slade decides a student’s helmet might be better on her head!

Students work in pairs with their horses, learning important teamwork lessons, especially how important it is to work together. When Prudence wanders too far from her partner she quickly realizes she needs to correct. The children are given direction on the next part of the lesson.

Then they put it into practice. What may look like simply walking around an arena is actually teaching the students many important lessons. They are learning to focus on the task at hand. They are learning to work together with their partner and the rest of their classmates to ensure their horse says in the correct position. They are learning how important each team member is. And they are learning how their horse responds to their actions and guidance.

At the Between Horses and Humans Leadership program children learn lifelong lessons about leadership through horsemanship.


Students Learn

Students of the Between Horses and Humans program enjoy the use of the beautiful Maddi’s Friesian Ranch set at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in picturesque Douglas County, Nevada.  The Ranch affords 80 acres of open pasture land with lush green grass and sweeping views of the Carson Valley.  Lessons provide students with the opportunity to get outside in the fresh air, and to learn valuable lessons through their interaction with the horses and volunteers.

Simply being with a horse can be very uplifting.  Each horse has their own personality.  Here a student scratches Mari and enjoys Mari’s comical facial expressions.

Students learn about caring for their horses, translating into the lesson that it is important that they also learn to care for themselves.

Students are given time with their volunteers to talk about anything that is on their mind.  Opportunities come during the simplest of moments, such as walking the horse back to its stall or pasture.  As trust develops between the student and their horse, so too it develops between the student and volunteer.  This provides a unique opportunity for students to discuss issues or receive gentle guidance from an impartial adult outside of their parental or guardianship unit.

Working with horses provides children with exposure to situations they would never otherwise have experienced, broadening their horizons and building their confidence through uncertainty.  Just like in life, when working with the horses things don’t always go as expected.  While being walked around the arena by a small boy, Silver decided it was time to have a roll in the dirt!  The student watched as nobody panicked or got upset with him, nobody was angry because Silver wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing.  They simply experience the moment.  When life takes unexpected turns it’s not because you are doing something wrong.  And the best way to handle it is to embrace it, be patient, and walk through it.

At Between Horses and Humans students learn to handle the unexpected, understand when routine is important, and that each horse (and each person) is unique.  Between Horses and Humans is a safe, nurturing environment where children experience lives changed, hearts healed.

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.


Samantha and Freddie

Samantha and Freddie have a very special relationship.  Samantha credits Freddie with “basically saving her life”.  She had a tough time with a close friend last year, and was suffering from depression.  Her time at Between Horses and Humans (BHH) has changed her for the better.

Samantha says Freddie is her best friend – she describes how she even tried to braid his hair once!  She enjoys coming out to the ranch and spending time with Freddie in the arena while talking to Barbara Slade (BHH President).

Barbara speaks very highly of Samantha and what she has accomplished.  She has a natural ability to work with the horses, and frequently points things out to Barbara about the horses.  Samantha can get Freddie to do many things nobody else can get him to do.  Samantha is extremely proud of that.

Samantha and Freddie undoubtedly have a very special bond, and Freddie has helped to change Samantha’s life and heal her heart.

For more information, please check out our About Us page.

The Heart of Between Horses & Humans Volunteers

Volunteer1Between Horses and Humans is all about teaching leadership through horsemanship, changing lives and healing hearts.  The volunteers at BHH all have such incredible kindness and compassion – they are the heart of the program.  While each volunteer is unique and has different gifts and talents, there are certain qualities that all BHH volunteers share.

BHH volunteers are not about recognition and public acknowledgement.  They volunteer with generosity and joy, and they look forward to their time with the kids and the horses.  They recognize the blessing that comes to them from being a part of life transformation.  BHH President Barbara Slade says, “One of the reasons we are so unique is that our people are so humble and kind, and we attract such positive energy.  These people are so respectful of the children.  That’s my number one thing – to give the child respect.”

The BHH program is all about teaching and guiding children without taking away their being or sense of self.  Adults teach, share, and direct, but they do it in such a way as to never make the child feel inferior.  Barbara says, “My joy with this program is that I get to listen to these kids.  They know what they’re feeling.  As an adult I get to listen and discern what they’re saying and feeling.  Maybe they need someone to interject.  Maybe they just need to be heard.  I listen first, then share and direct.”

BHH volunteers avoid saying, “Do it this way” in relation to a problem or issue.  Instead they say “In my opinion…”  They always give the child a choice as to whether they take the suggestion or not.  And in case you were wondering, you can’t lie to a child or a horse!  Volunteers are honest.

The heart of BHH volunteers is the heart of the program.  Our volunteers are humble, kind, generous, honest, and compassionate.  They bring a very special energy to what they do and how they interact with the children.  They are the perfect ingredient in the BHH recipe for changing lives and healing hearts.

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Compassion Alive and Well – May Gala Event a Huge Success

“When we are motivated by compassion and wisdom, the results of our actions benefit everyone, not just our individual selves or some immediate convenience. When we are able to recognize and forgive ignorant actions of the past, we gain strength to constructively solve the problems of the present.”

Dalai Lama XIV

On May 28, 2016 Between Horses and Humans (BHH) was reminded that compassion is most definitely alive and well.  Through the generosity and compassion of the Wild Rose Inn in Genoa, Nevada, BHH supporters, friends, family and volunteers, the First Annual BHH May Gala raised approximately $14,000.  The entire proceeds will go directly to the operation of the BHH program to help at-risk and struggling youth of Douglas County and surrounding areas.

Dave and Jeannette Bostedt, the owners of the Wild Rose Inn, along with their daughter Sierra, have been so compassionate.  They have done so much to make the May Gala a success.  They not only put in countless hours preparing, arranging, and organizing, but they also got their family members and friends (many from the Bay area) involved.   There are far too many activities and contributions to mention specifically.  Needless to say it takes a phenomenal amount of effort to bring together an event such as the BHH May Gala.

Wine Cabinet1Dave created a wine cabinet from old barn wood & chicken wire for the wine raffle – it was an amazing piece of art.  Jeannette rented tents and set up the location.  Sierra coordinated flyers and ticket sales, and helped with all kinds of preparations.  Jeannette’s friends baked delicious, beautiful desserts.  Their families traveled long distances to attend.  Many of their friends and family donated wine.

The event was spectacular.  About 70 guests were in attendance, dressed in their finest garb.  Men wore dress pants and suit jackets, and ladies wore elegant dresses.  There were even some dashing gentlemen in tuxedos.  Guests were excited for the opportunity be manly or ladylike in an elegant, beautiful setting. Dancing1There was a lot of velvet on display.  BHH President Barbara Slade wore a full velvet skirt-jacket combination and velvet gloves, and she was grateful for the extra warmth because it was 43 degrees that night with a very chilly wind and even some light rain at times.  But the weather didn’t deter anyone – it simply gave everyone an excellent excuse to dance to the sounds of the band Mixed Company!

The three tents Jeannette had rented were put together to make one large tent, and the heaters (also kindly rented by the Bostedts) helped with warmth too.  The tents had two clear sides so guests got to appreciate Settingthe beautiful terraced gardens on the grounds of the Wild Rose Inn.  The fresh rain meant the garden was simply radiant.  It was a perfect setting to enjoy the wonderful meal catered by Ron Benedetti.  Tables were sponsored by the Wild Rose Inn and Maddi’s Friesian Ranch.

The wine auction was the talk of the evening.  Dave’s wine cabinet was filled with wine, all of which was donated for the event.  Guests could buy an old style key for $10 to participate in the raffle.   JeysThroughout the evening the MC would give each person an opportunity to open the locks of the wine cabinet.  The person who opened first lock won the top shelf of wine and so on for each of the three shelves. Each key came with an elegant, handmade tag showing the BHH logo and a picture or saying.  The keys made a great memento, even if the guest didn’t win any wine.  This event was fun for everyone, and contributed almost $800 to the fundraising efforts.

SpeechFour of the BHH program participants attended the gala, and three of them spoke.  It was an excellent opportunity for the children to speak from their hearts about what BHH means to them.  It was also an opportunity for the guests to see first hand how their contribution was being used to change the lives of young people.

The event was sponsored by the Wild Rose Inn, Smiths Food and Drug Store in Gardnerville, Maxton, Debbie Hemphill, and Maddi’s Friesian Ranch, as well as many other individuals.  The Record-Courier ran an article and included the event in their calendar throughout May.  The compassion and love of so many was on display in all aspects of the Gala.

All of the volunteers and participants contributed to the event’s success with a joyful heart and upbeat enthusiasm.  It was such a great way to give back to BHH & make a difference while enjoying a fabulous evening.  The first year of any fundraising event can be difficult and one never knows precisely what to expect.  It is safe to say this year’s event provided an excellent platform from which to launch this annual gala.  There’s no doubt the attendees will be back for more next year and will tell all their friends not to miss out.   As Barbara Slade says, “If you change the life of one child, it’s brilliant.  You were in service and you’ve done enough.  But we have the ability to change the lives of so many, which is such a blessing.”

BHH wishes to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who made the May Gala such a blessing!  You are proof-positive that compassion is alive and well.

If you would like to get involved with BHH, please leave a comment, make a donation, or share this article.


376353_338953322846959_1475541813_nSilver was a four foot hunter in the competitive showjumping world. His name was Silver Strand – he was extremely successful at the large horse shows. He won at the top level, beating the highest competing horses.  Silver came to Between Horses and Humans through President Barbara Slade’s former client.  That client purchased Silver, and also Mo & Freddie.  She bought him later in life – he was 12 at the time.

When Silver was first purchased he was disinterested in the hunter style. Fortunately his new owner wasn’t keen on that style either, so with Barbara’s help she turned Silver into a jumper.  He became involved in jumping competitions – these are events timed for speed as seen in the Olympics.  He loved it and was so much happier.

Silver & Mo retired together at the former client’s ranch.  Subsequently the owners of that ranch invited BHH to use their facilities for the program.  That was when Silver was introduced to working with the children of BHH – his owner kindly allowed the program to use him.  When BHH moved to Maddi’s Friesian Ranch in 2013 they just brought Freddie & Rascal.

377772_201780509897575_814459424_nThe owners donated Silver to BHH in August 2014 where he’s been for almost two years now.  Silver is a class act. He is a very special horse.  He is intelligent and very regal.  He has learned to work with the children of the program, and understands that it is okay to work with children.  At first Silver wasn’t sure that he wanted to come out of retirement – he seemed to have grown accustomed to relaxing and just being out in the field.  However he quickly overcame his initial hesitation and decided that working with the kids was worth it.  He made the transition from top competitive horse to changing childrens lives.

016At 17 hands Silver is a BIG horse.  It’s hilarious because every tiny child who comes to the program undoubtedly wants to work with Silver.  They make for a fantastic profile… a tiny figure aback a giant horse.  Silver is very dependable, which is probably why small children gravitate towards him.  He would never harm a child – kids just love him.

Today Silver is very healthy and he looks great. BHH is a good balance for him – there are 8 horses so no single horse gets overworked. He gets lots of treats and frequent bodywork.  Semi-retirement is a good thing for Silver at BHH. Massages, good food, a healthy lifestyle, great pasture, and just the right amount of attention.  May we all be so fortunate in our own semi-retirement!

Have you interacted with Silver?  Do you have a story of your own about a special horse?  Please tell us about it in the Comment section.


raschalBarbara Slade has known Rascal since she was born.  She bred her parents – Rascal’s father was the successful racehorse Riverman.  Rascal is 17 now, and is affectionately known as “The Princess”.  She is beautiful, elegant, positive, and very easy to be around.  Rascal was owned by a woman Barbara knew.  She was bought and trained in dressage, but Rascal just wasn’t taking to it the way she was expected to.  The former owner generously donated her to Between Horses and Humans in May 2009, when she became the second horse BHH owned (Freddie was the first).  The Board of Directors, parents, and participants of BHH have been in love with her ever since. (was friends with the original owner).

When Barbara speaks of Rascal, she has nothing but praise and adoration.  “She has no flaws”, Barbara says of the pretty, gentle horse.  When Rascal was first used for the program she was a little fussy, but that didn’t last for long.  Soon she was captivated by the children, and seemed to know her role as the gentle partner.

059At BHH the children get to choose which horse they work with.  Early on in the program they are encouraged to use a wide variety of horses, but after a while children tend to gravitate towards a particular horse.  Many children choose to work with Rascal because she is so easy-going and nurturing.  She quickly convinces them that large animals are OK – she removes the fear and intimidation many children experience simply because of the size difference between them and their horse.  Children blossom with Rascal.

Rascal BW1Rascal is loving, kind, upbeat and positive.  She truly is BHH royalty.  Her laid back, happy demeanor says, “Life is good!”  She encourages gratefulness, and gives children the freedom to be themselves, make mistakes, and be forgiven.  She doesn’t challenge or ignore the students – don’t let her name fool you.  She is an excellent first horse, even though she came to the program second.  We could all use a little more beauty, kindness and love – by horse or human.  Incorporate more “Rascal” into your day today.