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As published in The Community Foundation Spotlight in The Press Enterprise on February 11, 2017.

Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center is having an open house Saturday February 11, 2017 from 3pm to 5pm and is inviting the public to discover more about the work they do.

Queen of Hearts Therapeutic Riding Center, located in Jurupa Valley, is a nonprofit facility. Primarily, the center offers programs supporting the development of disabled children and adults living in Southern California's Inland Empire and surrounding areas. 

Robin Kilcoyne, Founder and Executive Director of Queen of Hearts stated they hope to get more of the community acquainted with the facility. 

Queen of Hearts“We want people to have a little more of a hands-on experience with us,” said Kilcoyne. “It’s an opportunity to see the work we are talking about for yourself.”  

One aspect of these services is therapeutic riding, which can improve balance, joint mobility, coordination, muscle tone and posture in the rider. Adaptive equipment, primarily funded by the xxx Fund through The Community Foundation, makes it possible for riders with physical disabilities to mount and balance on the horse. According to Kilcoyne, this therapy can be beneficial to children and adults with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and brain injuries.

Queen of HeartsHowever, clients don’t necessarily need to ride the horses in order to experience therapeutic benefits. Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy utilizes interactions with horses to help clients overcome psychological challenges such as depression, anxiety, grief, and post-traumatic stress. Equine Assisted Learning can help with team building, leadership training, and communication skills.

Kilcoyne, who is a retired U.S. Army, sergeant major, also has a goal of assisting more veterans with her programming. The center works with past and present first responders and military service personnel, helping them deal with physical and emotional injuries. Professional counselors and equine specialists teach the injured how to work through their issues through interaction with the horses.

Queen of HeartsAdditionally, Kilcoyne has a goal of helping veterans who have found transitioning back into civilian life challenging. The center works with The Riverside County Superior Court’s Veterans Court. The mission of the Veterans Court is to provide a treatment strategy for Veterans in the criminal justice system, who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), psychological issues, sexual trauma, mental health or substance abuse problems as a result of having served in the armed forces.  

Part of their intensive treatment program often includes community service, and the center offers veterans opportunities for service hours. The tasks may start with grunt work, but motivated veterans have the opportunity to learn horsemanship and basic riding. 

Queen of Hearts“A lot folks come back from deployment and they need find a new self and a new purpose,” said Kilcoyne.  “I was gone a lot during the war and every time I came back I had to do a reset with my civilian job and my family. The horses help bridge the gap.”

Kilcoyne is hoping to expand their veterans’ programming. The center will be collaborating with the Imperial Knights of Norco for a fundraiser in the fall.  On October21, 2017 the Imperial Knights will be presenting a Medieval Rodeo, benefitting Queen of Hearts. 

“There will be real competitions with heavy-armored jousters for prize money,” said Kilcoyne. “There will also be light armor competitions for fun in between. We are looking for sponsorships.” 

Queen of HeartsAccording to Kilcoyne, the organization currently has a great need for capital contributions and funds for staffing. The center is also always looking for volunteers. 

“We need $300 an hour to keep our place open and we only charge clients $45 an hour,” said Kilcoyne. “When it rains, we can’t do lessons, but the horses still need to eat and have their stalls cleaned rain or shine.”

Information: (951) 734-6300