The Chivas Memorial Fund - Donated to Spring Reins of Life, Inc. (providing EAP to At-Risk-Youth in New Jersey)

SPRING REINS of LIFE is located in the heart of Central New Jersey (approx. mid way between NYC and Philly). Our EAP services are provided by experienced, caring professionals and with horses that demonstrate a unique ability to help heal the human spirit. We are EAGALA certified. (EAGALA is an international certification and training organization currently present in all 50 states and over 40 countries world-wide Traditional therapy does not work for everyone, Spring Reins of Life is an alternate approach of therapeutic intervention that is proven effective.

Spring Reins of Life ( offers EAP programming for therapeutic intervention designed specifically to assist disadvantaged and at-risk youth develop skills and coping strategies to improve their interpersonal relationships and increase their chances of success beyond the circle of violence, gangs and poverty.

Teen boys from Bonnie Brae in NJ at Spring Reins of Life

Participants will be screened to determine the most effective intervention for their needs. Based on need, individuals or groups of up to ten participants will work with a clinical psychologist, and equine specialist and horses selected specifically for their capacity to work with individuals who are troubled or suffering in spirit.

• Enhance problem solving and social skills
• Learn empathy and stimulate creativity
• Accepting accountability for behaviors
• Gain a sense of personal control
• Learn stress, anger and frustration management
• Decrease feelings of hopelessness/depression
• Learn better communication skills
• Building a strong and positive perception of self
• Learn cause and effect - taking responsibility
• Find direction, focus and meaning for life/future
• Positive relationship building foundations

Teen girls from New City Kids in NJ at Spring Reins of Life

During the interaction with the horses, the horses will be interacting in free-will (loose) with the participants in a safe enclosed space where we set about specific activities and exercises designed to open doors for thoughts, emotions and internal struggles.

The EAGALA Model facilitation team comprised of a licensed mental health professional, a certified equine specialist, and horse(s) will work with the participants in the group to help them understand their emotions, their body language and the horses’ reactions to them. The horses offer chances for adolescents to discover immediate consequences of mal-adaptive behavior, and explore and create strategies and behaviors which promote appropriate and positive responses. Outside the arena, the treatment team will guide the processing of issues that arise from interactions with the horses and help each teenager to incorporate a set of coping and resiliency skills that they can then take with them out into their real lives.

A subset of skills is addressed in each session, optimum results are achieved when youths can participate in repeated visits of 4-12 session to constitute a completed program. Single workshops are also offered to organizations that work with at-risk youth, designed so as to highlight skill sets and/or goals that the incoming organization is facing within their program, such as leadership, oppositional defiance or anti-bullying, to list some examples.


At risk youth benefit from participating in a therapeutic modality that is non-stigmatizing and in a neutral environment. In this space they have the opportunity to confront issues without the pressure of gang hierarchy, society roles and expectations. Once those barriers to learning are removed, these youth have the opportunity to reconcile the societal issues that have not allowed them to align themselves on a path toward being responsible adults.

Teen boys from MYDC (NYC) at Spring Reins of Life

Equine assisted psychotherapy and life skills learning is an intervention that is effective for at risk youth. Horses in a therapeutic program are particularly advantageous allies to elicit change. The size and power of the horse can be naturally intimidating to many people, and this alone can create a perfect opportunity to overcome fear and learn confidence which directly addresses the emotional difficulties at risk youth face as they navigate life. To accomplish a task with a horse in a setting outside the structure of their community requires one to rely on individual skills thus building resiliency and confidence. It provides a powerful metaphor to draw from that may represent the relationship between their compromised social conditions and the effects of their own actions and/or psychological health. Intervention with horses provides opportunities for at risk youth to face fears, develop individual self confidence, empathy, learn cause and effect of actions, and many coping skills which they can take home with them from the paddock and utilize to make healthier decisions in real life.


Chivas 1

Dear Spring Reins of Life:

On the night of Friday, November 9, 2012 our barn was vandalized and one of the horses who lived here was victimized by the intruders. When we discovered the invasion and the subsequent destruction the following morning, I also found Chivas, a 30-some Y/O QH with advanced Cushing’s Disease had been displaced from his pasture and had been left inside the ransacked barn - and he was clearly not doing well. From what we can piece together he was left for several hours away from his herd, without water, in the pitch-dark and disheveled barn. It was apparent that the stress and anxiety of the situation had taken its toll. The police and the vet were called but it turned out that the perpetrators were to permanently leave their mark of thoughtlessness upon our lives. Chivas had to be put down due to internal bleeding from probable colic and ruptured digestive organs. It was one of the worst days of our lives.

Although no one has come forward and there has been no conclusive evidence, there is a strong suspicion that this incident, as well as a significant string of other local acts of vandalism, were committed by local teenage boys. A Reward Fund was collected in order to find "Justice for Chivas" but after some time had passed, the initial anger began to wane and the healing process began. We realized that seeking these individuals out for punishment was not an appropriate way to honor our beloved, Chivas. In life he was the equine half of a partnership with his owner, Kelly that spanned over 12 years. Together they explored the trails of the NJ countryside as well as trained and showed at Bucks County Horse Park in 1st level dressage, where he earned title of Reserve Champion on multiple occasions. In 2009 Chivas was retired to our farm where he spent the last several years of his life as a true member of our family. He spent time on the trails and enjoyed many hours of love and attention by his many adoring friends.

His loss left us with broken hearts but his innate ability to persevere through tough times and make the most of any given situation crossed through the Heavens and touched our Souls. We knew we had to do something POSITIVE in order to truly honor our Friend.

With that said, the $1,800.00 that was raised to find Chivas' violators is instead now being donated to the non-profit organization Spring Reins of Life, and being appropriated for 6-8 group EAP sessions with Bonnie Brae in NJ. With this donation The Chivas Reward Fund has now become The Chivas Memorial Fund. This Fund was created to raise money to help the at-risk youth of New Jersey in order to prevent other such incidents of animal abuse, vandalism, etc. Our hope is that through the At-Risk/Disadvantaged Youth EAP Program offered by Spring Reins of Life, the lives of the NJ youth working with the Therapy Horses will be forever changed for the better. Possibly stopping their paths of destruction and possibly saving them from causing harm to others and/or themselves. Spring Reins of Life has a waiting list for EAP with at risk youth in NJ and so the interest is there, and the efficacy of EAP with defiant teenage boys allows us to believe that THIS is truly the best way that we can pay tribute to the "Amazing Being" that Chivas was and how we would like to Honor his life and his memory.

From founders of The Chivas Memorial Fund -
Kris Smalley & Kelly Post

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All proceeds from this fundraiser are in honor of The Chivas Memorable Fund but are paid/donated to NPO Spring Reins of Life located in Hillsborough, NJ, with an appropriation to be spent on EAP services for At Risk Youth (teens) in the state of New Jersey. All donations via this campaign are tax deductible via Spring Reins of Life, Inc.

Spring Reins of Life 501c3 has or is currently serving at risk / high risk youth (teens) at:
NJJJC (NJ Juvenile Justice Commission)
NJTS (NJ Training School for Boys - "Juvie Jail")
Hunterdon Youth Services (Semi Residential, NJ)
MYDC (Misunderstood Youth Development Center / gang rehab NYC DA - Brooklyn/Queens)
Bonnie Brae (Residential, NJ)
New City Kids (Jersey City)
...with a few new ones waiting for funding...Please make a tax deductible donation today!

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