“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
—A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
ANNOUNCEMENT: SPIRIT REINS HAS CLOSED ITS GATES AND HANDED OFF THE REINS TO HAVE OUR LEGACY LIVE ON.
We come to you, our community, with hearts full of both gratitude and anticipation. On February 28, 2022, Spirit Reins permanently closed its gates and distributed the remaining assets to three incredible nonprofits in the Central Texas community: Phoenix Center, HorseLink, and Safe in Austin.
For 19 years, Spirit Reins has passionately served the community, offering unique and experiential mental health services in partnership with horses to help children and families heal from trauma. We have had the privilege of witnessing millions of moments at the ranch far greater than any of us—young children learning to love themselves, caregivers realizing their own self-worth, and family relationships healing in deep and transformational ways.
Like most nonprofits, we have ridden the rollercoaster of highs and lows, but we have always done our best to stay true to the Spirit of our core values. We have worked tirelessly for nearly two decades to ensure that experiencing human compassion, connection with nature, authentic emotions, transformative love, and belonging in a herd is available to everyone, regardless of gender, religion, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.
Our impact in the community includes:
More than 2,500 kids and families served (70% of these families were underinsured or on Medicaid, and Spirit Reins was the only equine psychotherapy nonprofit to accept Medicaid in Central Texas).
More than 200 individuals served through secondary trauma retreats and trauma-informed trainings for ISDs and agencies.
Nearly 50,000 hours of therapy provided to children and families in need.
Spirit Reins was a trailblazer in the equine therapy industry, and we set the bar for trauma-informed, animal-assisted therapy. We were also the first animal-assisted mental health grant recipient in the history of the St. David’s Foundation.
Spirit Reins was the launching ground of Natural Lifemanship–a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) methodology and training center with science-based principles for building connected relationships as the vehicle for change.
Spirit Reins survived COVID-19, recovered, and made the choice to use our assets to boost other organizations…giving what we have so our legacy lives on!
We attribute everything we have accomplished to the dedicated members of our team (both current and former), our grant partners (especially our longtime supporters at St. David's Foundation and In-N-Out Burger Foundation), our donors, our volunteers, our agency partners, our corporate sponsors, and our community advocates. We want to thank each and every one of you for believing in our mission of healing and hope. You are a light in this world, and your support of Spirit Reins has changed countless lives through the ripple effect of generosity.
To be transparent, the past two years of the pandemic have been financially, programmatically, and personally difficult for our small organization. Fall of 2020, we had to let our clinical staff go because it was unsafe to serve clients in person at the ranch, and our model was much less effective via telehealth. Our leadership team decided to spend the next 12 months rebuilding from the effects of COVID-19 and adapting to meet the growing mental health needs of the community. We successfully launched new programming, deepened our partnerships with foundations and other organizations, and threw every ounce of energy we had into our mission. However, we were faced with the reality that, in order to keep growing and fulfilling our mission, we would need a partner…or three! Austin area nonprofits are facing intense competition for resources, staff, and funding. These difficulties, in addition to the desire to see our work live on, all culminated in our decision to merge the assets of Spirit Reins with Phoenix Center, HorseLink, and Safe in Austin.
While we know the news of Spirit Reins closing brings up feelings of sadness, we hope that it is also seen as an exciting new opportunity to combine forces with other exceptional nonprofits, in order to do more and be more for our Central Texas community. In the words of Craig Lounsbrough, “A sunset is nothing more and nothing less than the backside of a sunrise." The sun dawned and shined brightly on the Spirit Reins ranch for 19 years, and we know that the sunset promises to be even more beautiful, as we align our strengths to uplift Phoenix Center, HorseLink, and Safe in Austin. We are so profoundly grateful to have served thousands of children and families in Central Texas in such meaningful ways, and the mission and memory of Spirit Reins will live forever in our hearts.
We thank everyone again for their support over the years, we wish all of our former clients well in their healing journeys, and we look forward to all the good our incredible team of humans will do in the world next. We strongly encourage each of you to explore Phoenix Center, HorseLink, and Safe in Austin to continue your support of the amazing healing work happening in our community.
We know that we leave a legacy of love and hope through the lives we have changed and the nonprofits we are strengthening. In all that we have learned and experienced the past 19 years, our final message for all of you is that time is precious, so invest in your wellness right now! Find what makes your soul sing, enjoy every moment on this earth, and above all...let the Spirit reign.
-The Spirit Reins Team
WE ENCOURAGE ALL OF OUR DONORS, VOLUNTEERS, AND ADVOCATES TO SUPPORT OUR BENEFITING NONPROFITS.
Phoenix Center inspires hope, health and healing by providing the highest level of mental health care to children and their families through innovative trauma-informed therapy and education.
HorseLink provides sanctuary and renewed purpose to retired competition horses and a place of healing and growth for people. At HorseLink, we believe that tapping into the age-old bond between humans and horses is restorative and deeply rewarding for both.
Safe in Austin is a sanctuary that rescues animals from severe abuse or neglect. Our animals provide healing and hope to trauma, at-risk, and/or special needs people, these are the animals who triumph and inspire world-wide.