Providing equine education & stewarding community leadership
Did you ever long for a pony? If you did, your love for horses probably started at an early age. And if you’re one of the handful of people whose dream of owning a horse came true— or you enjoyed regular opportunities to ride — you likely understand the feeling of empowerment that comes from being able to work with, and train, a 1,200-pound animal.
That’s what inspires and bonds the participants in the Roaring Fork Hounds Pony Club, a nonprofit that’s been helping riders gain confidence and leadership skills since 1970.
The club’s mission is to build the foundations of teamwork and sportsmanship through riding, mounted sports and care of horses and ponies, while developing and enhancing leadership, confidence, responsibility and a sense of community. And while a majority of its participants are girls, the club is open to all and welcomes both youth and adult members.
Jenny Sauer, who is both a pony club volunteer and the vice president of Alpine Bank Basalt, says that the growth she witnesses every year in the young people who learn to learn, teach, follow and lead in the Roaring Fork Hounds Pony Club is motivating.
Volunteering in the community is an important part of being a member of the club, and Jenny asserts that these future leaders will be involved wherever they end up.
“I see the smiles and confidence that are built when they ‘get it’. These individuals learn everything about the care and maintenance of horses from the ground up — not forgetting the small, messy details like poop scooping,” says Jenny with a laugh. “They work together and individually, building lifelong skills that will make their future communities better.”
The club attracts members from Aspen to Eagle to Grand Junction, and some of its members are able to participate thanks to community underwriting.
“Alpine Bank’s support has enabled us to be more affordable for our members,” says Jenny. “That allows us to provide scholarships to members who need help in order to afford the programming.”
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