Since mid-August, a lot of progress has been made at Reins to Recovery Inc. Therapeutic Riding Center’s new, permanent home along U.S. 31 north of Reddington.

The horse tack room in a barn now has electricity, lighting, heating and air conditioning. An anonymous donor made all of that happen.

Work has begun on the six indoor stalls in the back part of the barn. The Columbus Icemen hockey team is helping put the stalls together, while a crew from Cummins Inc. built a loft above them for hay storage. Also, all of the stalls now have a sponsor.

And a privacy fence is nearly completed around a small barn that will house the miniature horses.

Now, the focus is on constructing three arenas so lessons can once again be conducted in a sheltered structure. Since moving from the former facility along North County Road 1100W near Seymour, sessions have been outdoors in a temporary arena.

“We’ve just been making strides left and right out here in a short amount of time. I couldn’t be happier about that,” executive director Calli Johnson said.

In the tack room, the next task is putting in insulation. Then the tack boards can be put up on the walls and organized.

Once the indoor stalls are completed, sponsor plaques will be placed. Rubber mats also will be placed on the concrete floor to make it easier on the horses.

Trees and brush still need to be cleared between the miniature horse barn and the area where a small arena will be constructed. Some boards are needed to complete the privacy fence, too.

“That will eventually be our sensory path that we can utilize, especially for some of our autistic groups that come out, schoolkids, maybe we start doing field trips,” Johnson said.

She hopes to have that small arena built by the winter.

When the new facility opened July 1, a family from Hanover donated wood and some other materials to use for one of the arenas. Johnson said that will be used to build the 56-foot-by-84-foot arena.

“We had an outpouring of community help when that barn was donated,” she said. “We had service groups and volunteers go all the way to Hanover and make numerous trips there and back to carry all of the trusses and the lumber and help with teardown.”

Reins to Recovery had a company help tear down some of the trusses, but that expense was covered through a grant.

Groundbreaking for that arena is planned for mid-November, and Johnson said she hopes to have it built before the winter session begins.

With the 200-foot-by-80-foot arena, Johnson and her board are looking at different options. They have received donations of concrete blocks and quotes for a pole barn-style building.

“We are still doing a lot of financial prep work to see what financially is going to make the most sense,” she said. “We’ll see what makes sense long term and financially and how much we can raise to get that up.”

They initially set a three-year plan to build the large arena, which will have a main entrance with sitting space, viewing windows and restroom facilities.

“If it gets done before then, great,” Johnson said. “But three years, I think we should be really seeing some growth out here. We already are in just three, four months, so we are hoping to get more information and to get going on the large indoor arena next spring, possibly see if we can get some things started for that.”

The two large arenas are needed because the facility is growing in many areas, and all programs have a waiting list, Johnson said.

When Reins to Recovery started in 2008 in Hayden, there were 10 riders, six horses and volunteers who began training. Now, there are more than 120 riders from the area, 11 horses, six staff members, six volunteer board members and more than 30 people who volunteer on a weekly basis.

People continue to help Reins to Recovery through donations and physical labor, so Johnson is confident everything will come together.

“We’ve got the right people in place, and it seems like every day, there are new people that are wanting to reach out and help,” she said. “Little things are popping up at just the right time. It’s a blessing to know that the community is paying attention and recognizing what’s going on out here and helping us grow.”

At a glance

Reins to Recovery Inc. Therapeutic Riding Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers therapeutic riding, equine-assisted psychotherapy, equine-assisted learning and recreational lessons to children and adults with disabilities, victims of violence and abuse and at-risk youth.

The center is at 10861 N. U.S. 31 north of Reddington.

For information or to find out about volunteer opportunities, call 812-350-4864, visit reinstorecovery.org or find the organization on Facebook.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.