Mission: Riding Beyond enhances well-being of breast cancer survivors, their friends, families, associates, and others with life challenges through healing horse/human interactions.
The Four Pillars of Riding Beyond’s Mission:
Opening Doors to the Future for Women Recovering from Breast Cancer Treatment
- Riding Beyond began in 2013 with a gathering of people who recognized the life-changing benefits of a heart-to-heart relationship with horses for women experiencing the after-effects of breast cancer treatment.
- As it became clear that many friends and family members were unaware of their loved one’s issues, we began to build wide-spread community awareness of the needs of breast cancer survivors and thrivers, as well as how a relationship with a horse as a sentient being can promote healing.
- We joined with those who participate in the medical profession’s expansion from curing cancer to include wellness strategies post-treatment, through personal and conference presentations.
- After a couple of years of experience and learning, we began training professionals in equine assisted therapies around the world in the Riding Beyond model.
Trish Broersma, founder, director and lead instructor, returned from a Prescott Best Practices conference in Spring, 2013, inspired to offer a program to breast cancer survivors/thrivers of the Rogue Valley. In collaboration with others, Riding Beyond was launched that September. She enhanced a California program’s physical benefits with horse activities that nurture the human spirit, based on her many years of work in human development, and her explorations into the horse/human relationship through liberty training. She brings expertise for conducting Riding Beyond sessions with her certification as a PATH International therapeutic riding instructor and certified equine specialist in mental health and learning, as well as past administrator of two premier accredited PATH Intl therapeutic riding programs and past president of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association. She is lead faculty for PATH Intl ESMHL Professional Certification workshops. Her work in empowering the human spirit draws on story, body-based modalities, current brain research, and cutting-edge human development practices, all enhanced by partnering with horses. trishbroersma.com
Mystic Moon is an Anglo-Arab who has had a career in endurance riding and now demonstrates remarkable talent for her new calling as a Riding Beyond horse. Her intuitive, healing abilities have offered remarkable experiences to our clients, as have other horses joining Riding Beyond since 2013, like Journey, Abby, Gabe, Haywire and Sonita, some of whom are pictured, bottom.
Journey arrived in Oregon from Denver as a gangly, big 2 year old Rocky Mountain Horse in 2008. His calm and trusting but powerful demeanor, coupled with his larger size and unusual golden chocolate color, make him a favorite choice for Riding Beyond participants who are attracted to his masculine presence.
Abby is a mustang mare who was rounded up from the wild herds of eastern Oregon in 2002, small, skinny, and pregnant at 3 years of age. She grew into a cautious but calm, kind and intelligent trail horse. She has an exceptional rapport with others, and insists on being asked, not ordered, to do something.
Marji Ashley-McFadden, volunteer coordinator, joined Riding Beyond in January, 2022. Horses have always been a part of her life, both personally and professionally. A life-long equestrienne with a passion for dressage, she has trained and competed several horses in numerous nationally-recognized competitions. Her current horse, Bacioni – a strikingly tall and majestic warmblood – holds a special place in her heart. Even when she’s not in the saddle, Marji stays close to the horse world. Though mostly retired now, she is a professional Dutch-to-English equestrian translator – a dream-career which began in the late 1990’s while Marji was living in the Netherlands.
Candis Fugitt, volunteer grant writer, joined Riding Beyond in March, 2022. She has had a deep connection with animals her whole life. She first encountered an equine therapy program when her daughter, who has a chromosome disorder, participated in an adaptive riding program as a child in Texas – that healing connection with horses has stayed with her daughter to this day. After moving from Texas to Ashland in 2018, she wrote grants for the horse sanctuary Equamore. Upon joining Riding Beyond, she found what she had been looking for – a chance to be involved with a program that focuses on the connection between horses and people, and to explore the healing that occurs through interactions with the mystical animal spirit that is the horse.
Jenn Lieber, head horse handler and former board member, has been with Riding Beyond since its beginnings. Moving to the Rogue Valley in 2008, curiosity led her to wonder how the wisdom of horses and their non predatory power can teach respectful communication, collaborative leadership skills, and mindful awareness. She co-founded Pony Playtime for 3-5 year olds, and co-facilitates several summer horse camps. She delights in the laughter, energy and learning created when humans and horses are free to play together. She is certified with PATH International as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.
Peggy Dean, board president and horse handler, has been with Riding Beyond from its beginnings. She has had a life-long love of horses and enjoys how horses and people together result in fun and healing and a certain magic. She is executive director of Jean Houston Foundation and on the board of Being Human. Committed to the profession of coaching, she trains coaches in the certification programs at Coach Academy International.
Kristen Ellingson, board treasurer, grew up in Siskiyou County, California with ample opportunities to be around horses. She is a bookkeeper by trade. She first heard of Riding Beyond through the Ashland Chamber of Commerce in 2022. She has always admired the power and instincts of horses and strongly believes in the power of nature/animals to help heal humans. Coupled with a life-long love of all things numbers-related, this is a natural winning combination for Treasurer of Riding Beyond.
Linda Truax, board member, moved to Ashland in 1980 from Long Beach, California, with her husband. While growing up she had a horse of her own from 6th grade until she left for college, so horses have always been near and dear to her. She brings to Riding Beyond her long career in Pharmaceutical Sales and calling on doctors and their staff in Oregon. Additionally, she enjoys working community events and is an active representative for Riding Beyond at Ashland Chamber of Commerce Greeters.
Don Azar, board member, has had a career in international education as a university administrator and consultant before moving to the Rogue Valley from Whidbey Island, WA in ’96. Since here, he has worked in real estate and served on the boards Hope Equestrian Center and Down Syndrome Assoc. Of Southern Oregon (DSASO). He and his quarter horse “Blaze” took care of each other for several years. As a head and neck cancer survivor, actively involved in support group activities, he enjoys supporting cancer survivors, and working with horses, making a contribution to writing grants for Riding Beyond.
Rosa Lee Maple is a key person behind all of our events – organizer extraordinaire – and a former board member. She says: “A dearly-loved aunt of mine died from breast cancer, and I’ve always had a love for horses. Because of those two connections that touch my heart deeply, I thought the Riding Beyond program would be a way for me to contribute to our local community of breast cancer survivors. I had no idea how much I would gain in return from listening to, observing, and participating in the stories of these remarkable women, who were guided into healing self-reflection and truly revitalized by the end of four weeks.”
Carolyn Jost, past board president, is a breast cancer survivor, with a life-long love of horses. In her words, “Riding Beyond became the perfect blend of these life experiences. It has allowed me to make community connections, both through volunteering with Riding Beyond and helping out with the Salons for Survivors campaign, while learning more about the body/mind connection people have with horses and the potential for healing that flows from this connection.”
Many other volunteers, human and equine, contribute to the day to day operation of Riding Beyond.