HRH Members and Centers in the News




Octavia Brown has Devoted Her Life to Equine Assisted Therapy, Which Helps So Many

December 16, 2020 – Nancy Jaffer Equestrian Sports

“A legend in the world of Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, Octavia Brown got in on the ground floor of this significant movement, becoming a visionary instrumental in its growth. And at age 78, the Gladstone resident is still just as committed to continuing that evolution.

‘Octavia has dedicated her professional life to improving the lives of others, and her passion and expertise have touched everyone and every aspect of the industry,’ said Kathy Alm, CEO of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International).

‘We’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has served on more committees and work groups for the association.’

Yet it all began simply enough, as often is the case with so many important things. It happened that Octavia was a horse person in the right place at the right time, which was 1967. She was dating a man who worked at the McLean psychiatric hospital, which had a farm in Belmont, Mass. A horse-owning co-worker came up with the idea of bringing in horses as therapy for the patients…”

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It Was Definitely Worth the Trip to Tryon for a Dedicated Para Dressage Rider

October 30, 2020 – Nancy Jaffer Equestrian Sports

“A third-place finish in the Adequan®/ USEF Para Dressage National Championships last weekend signified a triumph of will and commitment for Alanna Flax-Clark.

Even traveling to the competition in Tryon, N.C., took some resolve during the Covid crisis, since she has underlying conditions dating back to the 2008 life-threatening infection that left her coping with a variety of challenges when the initial symptoms subsided.

‘I didn’t know whether to go or not,’ said Alanna about the championships, adding, ‘I was nervous about the number of people and horses in one place. I was thinking about cancelling at the last minute.’

As Michel Assouline, the U.S. para dressage technical advisor noted, ‘Some (para) riders need extra precautionary measures to minimize a Covid risk of infection because of a weak immune system. In fact, some riders didn’t make the journey to Tryon because of the risk traveling poses…”

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Looking for a road trip? Check out Allaire Community Farm in Wall Township

October 8, 2020 – New Jersey News12

“If you’re looking to take a road trip, head out to Wall Township and check out Allaire Community Farm. Harvesting Occupational and Personal Excellence is the goal for the Hope Program at the farm…”

(watch the story here)

ParaEquestrian. Model. Actress. Alanna Flax-Clark is our special guest

September 19, 2020 – Disabilities Redefined with Dr. Vaigneur DR-TV

“ParaEquestrian Alanna Flax-Clark speaks openly on her success in the world of para-dressage; being a model-actress, and how important being passionate about your career is for the disabled population.”

(watch the interview here)

Centenary University Graduates 10th Class of Veterans with Operation Centaur

September 16, 2020 – Horse Illustrated

“Centenary University recently graduated its tenth class of Operation Centaur, an equine-based program for veterans of all ages. Normally enrolled in a 10-week course, the most recent class took six months to finish due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2014, Centenary has been nationally recognized for providing equine-assisted services to veterans. Operation Centaur provides innovative and recreational services and is comprised of classroom and ground activities, riding, and learning more about the horse and human relationship. All services are offered at no cost to the veteran, and no experience with horses is necessary. Services are provided through individual and group lessons. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township.

Therapeutic Riding at Centenary (TRAC) and Operation Centaur are both approved programs through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International. The same volunteers have been coming in to help with the program since 2014. Some are TRAC instructors who come in from other programs to work with Centenary professionals…”

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COVID-19: NJ Community Farm Helping Those With Anxiety

August 28, 2020 – New Jersey News Network

“The Allaire Community Farm has served as a brief moment of solace for parents who are struggling with their at-risk children being stuck at home amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

‘The anxiety, the fear, the depression, suicidal thoughts, the self harming is going through the roof,’ said the farm’s executive director JoAnn Burney, who runs the nonprofit with her husband.

‘We nurture through nature,’ she said. ‘We’re a nonprofit 501 (c)(3). We rescue these beautiful animals, and we allow them to do the healing.’

Their main population of volunteers is comprised of special needs children and veterans with PTSD.

‘What we’re finding is here at the farm, we lost all our volunteers when COVID hit,’ Burney explained. ‘Everyone sheltered in place, but parents with special needs kits called and said can we please come to the farm…”

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Not-so-Silly Girlzz Dreamed up a Bracelet Project to Benefit Mane Stream

August 21, 2020 – Nancy Jaffer Equestrian Sports

“The Covid cancellation of their sleepaway riding camp put a big hole in the summer for Charlie Brandy and Maya Green. But like others who have risen to the pandemic challenge instead of stewing about it, the teens found a way to keep busy while giving back.

The girls’ mothers, Carla Komar and Erika Green, worked with them to devise a plan.

‘The first thing that came to mind was helping someone with cancer, or helping with Covid,’ recalled Erika.

But the girls, who met when they rode at Watchung Stables in Mountainside, said, ‘We like horses. Why can’t we do something for horses?’

‘Then the light clicked,’ as Erika put it. The girls and their mothers regularly drive by Mane Stream in Oldwick, so while looking out the car window, they glimpsed the facility’s sign and asked, ‘Why not that?”

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On The Right TRAC: Meet Karen Brittle, The Director Of Therapeutic Riding At Centenary

August 20, 2020 – Inside Warren

“Located on a lush tract in Long Valley is a 65-acre horses’ paradise known as the Centenary University Equestrian Center. About seven miles from the main campus, it serves as a classroom for students enrolled in the university’s Equine Studies program. For the past 16 years, it’s also been home to Therapeutic Riding At Centenary (TRAC), a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International premier accredited center serving North and Central New Jersey.

Documented by physical therapists, occupational therapists, special educators, and the riders themselves, the merits of therapeutic horseback riding are many – improved flexibility, balance, strength, reflexes, coordination, sensory integration, visual/spatial perception, self-confidence, personal empowerment, and more.

Karen Brittle, Assistant Professor of Equine Studies and PATH Advanced Instructor, is also the new TRAC Director. Its two-fold mission provides equine-assisted activities, like therapeutic riding, to children and adults with emotional, physical or learning disabilities, along with education and training for future certified therapeutic riding instructors…”

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Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center

December 22, 2019 – Weekender Philly

Watch the video here

HRH of NJ given the Dominick V. Romano Volunteer Award

May 2013

At its commencement ceremony in May 2013, Centenary College’s president Dr. Barbara Jayne Lewthwaite presented the Dominick V. Romano Volunteer Award to HRH of NJ.  Octavia Brown and Barbara Isaac, founders of HRH of NJ, received the award on behalf of the organization.

The award was inaugurated in 2001.  It is named in honor of Dominick V. Romano, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ronetco Supermarkets, Incorporated, whose generosity and vision made possible the incorporation of community service into Centenary’s curriculum in 1991.  This annual award recognizes individuals who are role models for Centenary students as they explore and come to understand the impact they can have through service leadership, a hallmark of the Centenary Experience.

In her remarks, Dr. Lewthwaite explained that Centenary was the first College in New Jersey to require community service for graduation.   Today, Centenary students collectively donate 30,000 hours of community service each year to local and national community efforts, and each student must perform community service before graduation.

The citation honoring HRH of NJ states that   “Barbara Isaac and Octavia Brown founded HRH of New Jersey in 1980 to represent the interests of New Jersey-based therapeutic horsemanship programs.   It was the first state organization created under the national umbrella of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship.

“HRH lobbies in favor of the needs and considerations of clients with disabilities at the state level.    This touches on everything from horse use statutes to land conservation and open space decisions.

 “HRH also hosts national and regional conferences and offers other educational opportunities for therapeutic riding professionals, and it offers scholarships for New Jersey residents to attend such conferences and courses.  HRH was the first state organization to offer Special Olympics competition for riders with intellectual disabilities, and helped to draft the national rules and policies for equestrian events in International Special Olympics competition.

 “By fostering a sense of teamwork between New Jersey’s individual equine-assisted therapy groups, HRH has demonstrated the power an organization can have to truly make a difference in our world.”