A Message From Our Founder

Dear Riders, Volunteers, Supporters and Friends:

In 1958, at the age of five, I ran off with the "Rag Man", a peddler who came through the town with his old horse-drawn wagon with his wares for sale. I remember being in love with the peddler’s horse named Charlie as I fed him tootsie rolls before we went for a ride. This is when my passion for horses began. Since then, I have ridden horses and shown them on occasion, as well as celebrated births of many foals as a result of a successful breeding program.

In 1972, I graduated from nursing school. Throughout my nursing career I had the privilege of working in a variety of healthcare areas. However, it was through my work with children with special needs that I found an additional passion in my life.

In 2000, I was able to bring my two passions together when I joined Powhatan County’s horse therapy program for preschool children. This program, guided by Betsy Healey, an Occupational Therapist (OT), afforded me the opportunity to work with students with special needs including Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, developmentally delayed issues, spinal cord injury and issues brought on by strokes.

In 2006, Mesa Vista Therapeutics (MVT), a 501 (c) 3 organization, was formed. In August of 2007, the organization broke ground for a new riding and educational facility to better serve those who were assisted by our program. (By this time in the organization’s evolution, our program had expanded to serving individuals from 2 years old to 75 years old.) To date, the riding and education facility is about 65% complete. It is through the generosity of donations that Mesa Vista Therapeutics has grown including the unmatched support of Dr. Stephanie A. Spingarn. In recognition of her dedication and support for the mission of the organization, the facility is named the S.A.S. Center.

The SAS Center is comprised of a 100 x 200 outdoor riding arena, 65 x 150 indoor riding ring, 20 stalls, tack rooms, wash rooms, veterinary and farrier station, along with two upper viewing areas. In the front of the facility, upon completion, will be administrative ares. Thanks to a special project endeavor while earning her Gold Award, Girl Scout Jessica Matthews took on the completion of the Andrea Kauder classroom which was completed in the summer of 2011. The administrative area will hold two offices, a lounge, a treatment room and a snack area.

In addition to the construction of the riding and educational center, MVT’s program continues its participation for the last three years in Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) and Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia (TRAV) horse shows. MVT also continues to expand its program including year-long operations and serving as one of the few Virginia NARHA centers that offers back riders.

Needless to say, it has been a terrific year for MVT as the organization continues to build support among the community including commercial and service organization like Gits Construction, Benchmark Construction, Robinson Plumbing, Ferguson Plumbing, and Williams’ Electric along with countless individuals and through a variety of gift naming opportunities for our SAS Center project completion. MVT will again be the recipient of the Powhatan Rotary’s Club Comedy Night fundraiser. It is only with the outreaching of support and volunteer efforts that MVT continues to provide the needed services for those who benefit from our programs.

We invite you to visit our fine facility, to become a volunteer, and/or to join us as a sponsor.

Helen Messenger