Meet our four-legged therapists! SDTR's horses are carefully chosen and trained to work with new riders and remain cool and calm in lessons. Each has his or her own personality, and participants often form a bond with the horses they ride.
Stormy is a Quarter Horse gelding in his mid-20s. Stormy was formerly loaned to us by his previous owners but then was donated to the program in November 2015. Stormy's smaller build makes him a perfect fit for our riders who require a narrower base. Stormy is very patient and responsive to our riders. He quietly stands still as riders play 'horseketball' or reach for stuffed animals on the posts.
Romeo is a Quarter Horse gelding in his mid-20s who has been apart of our SDTR family since April 2015. He was donated by Mollie Esterson from Singletree Stables in Seaford, Delaware. He was a lesson horse for many years. Romeo is a gentle, dependable and steady guy. He’s wonderful at showing beginner riders they way but also for our riders who are just beginning to take the step to ride independently. He also loves to kick up his heels out in the pasture with his best friend, Stormy!
Ashley is a Standardbred mare in her mid-20s who came to the program December 2017. Ashley was formerly trained to be a harness race horse but never made it to the competitive racetrack; she then became a momma to several babies. Ashley is very sweet, patient and has a laid back temperament. She is a nice size and builds for many of our riders due to her being able to carry more weight upon her back. We feel more than lucky to have this special mare apart of our family!
Leo is a 22 year old Thoroughbred gelding who has been apart of SDTR since March 2019. Leo is a former Hunter Jumper and also has experience with giving lessons to both kids and adults. Leo is very sweet, patient, sociable and easygoing. He has narrow build and a smooth gait which is great for our riders who require a narrower base and also those who have trouble with balance and core strength. Leo is a great teacher for beginner riders who are just starting to learn the ropes and independent riders who are learning more experienced skills. We are so happy to have him apart of the team!
Molly is a 12-year-old mare pony who has been a part of SDTR for about 2½ years now. Molly is an ambassador for our school, camp and community programs. She is very sweet, patient, easy going and she loves attention. Molly is just the right height for kids and for our riders who use wheelchairs. She is used for leading, grooming, learning about horse parts and fun activities. Because of her height and temperament, she is also great with our riders who are not quite comfortable around the bigger horses yet. She allows people to pet and groom her while she patiently stands and lets riders begin to feel comfortable. She is a favorite of many and we are glad to have this little mare on the farm!
Lydia is a 22 year old Oldenburg mare who has been apart of SDTR since November 2018. Lydia is a former Hunter Jumper, then after being retired from the show ring she was bred to have a beautiful foal. She is a very gentle, kind, talented and beautiful girl. Since Lydia is very well trained she is a very good teacher for our riders who are learning how to be independent and for those who are learning a specific skill. She is also one of our tallest and biggest horses on the farm so she is able to carry taller riders and is able to carry more weight upon her back. We feel incredibly lucky to have this amazing mare apart out our herd!
Sol came to SDTR in 2021, as a free lease from Stan and Laurie Vonasek. He is is an American Bashkir Curley horse who was born in Virginia, and purchased by a nice young Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania when he was a yearling. They raised him to be a carriage horse for transportation and to go to to church every week. The family put him up for sale because he was too slow, and they had to leave one half hour ahead of schedule to go to church. He came to the Vonasek’s when he was six years old, to be Laurie’s riding and trail horse. Because he has never been ridden, he had to be trained, and was started under saddle, using a natural horsemanship technique with a horse trainer. Since then, he has been on trail rides to Redden State Forest, Idlewild, Fairhill and several beautiful places in Virginia. Sol has also participated in some programs at the Vonasek’s farm, and noticing how much he loved working with students, and interacting with humans, Laurie thought SDTR would be a perfect fit as a new career. Sol has taken to his new job exceptionally well, he loves attention, and the volunteers give him tons of affection and love. Because Sol is still her horse, Laurie spends a lot of time at the farm and enjoys helping him adapt to his new career, even assisting with his training and care. Welcome Sol, to the SDTR family!