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Blog | Access Adventure
In Memory of Stonewall Blanche

In Memory of Stonewall Blanche

March 1, 1992-December 29, December 29, 2018 STONEWALL SPORTHORSE CHAMPION (COMBINED DRIVING, LONG DISTANCE DRIVING) 1992 Black Leopard Mare Charlie Degas x Stonewall Crystal by Prince Talisheek Bred by Stonewall Stud, Winters, California Owned by Cheri’ Smith, Titusville, Florida Bingo! It was obvious when the peacock spotted black leopard filly first stood that she would grow to be a very big mare. Her long legs were graced by black points, dramatic contrast to her snowy white coat. Stonewall Blanche sparked serious dreams of driving glory. She did not disappoint. This was the first of three sisters to become Stonewall Sporthorse Champions produced by Stonewall Crystal, a big, rugged black leopard daughter of 1967 National Champion Crystal Curtain. Stonewall Blanche took easily to harness as a strapping two-year-old, showing willingness to go anywhere and do anything. By the time she was four, she was competing regionally, then throughout the West. In 1998, Michael Muir was named to represent the United States at the first World Championship for Drivers with Disabilities, held in Wolfsburg, Germany, with competitors from nine countries. The Americans came home with the team bronze medal, led by Florida’s Kate Rivers earning the individual bronze. Mike was hooked and he wanted more. His string of driving horses were shipped to Southern Pines, North Carolina, the heart of the American driving world, early in 1999. They would spend the year training and competing to qualify for the 2000 World Driving Championship in Stadl Paura, Austria. Stonewall Blanche led the way, storming through competitions in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Blanche towered well... read more
Harnessing Hope and Healing

Harnessing Hope and Healing

Michael Muir has always been fascinated with genetics and breeding. As a child, he bred mice for different coat colors. By the age of nine, a family friend helped him start a small flock of sheep that he bred and raised for the local 4H in his hometown of Dixon, California. By the age of 12, with the money he earned from selling prized lambs, Muir bought his first mare who happened to be in foal, with a filly by her side.

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Natural Beauty For All: Making National Parks More Accessible

Natural Beauty For All: Making National Parks More Accessible

With almost thirty national parks in California and nearly sixty across the wider country, America is one of the world’s natural beauty hotspots. But for the 40 million Americans who have a disability, accessing these picturesque locations can sometimes seem like a difficult task – and as CNN reports, it can sometimes leave travelers with disabilities feeling like they’re being isolated. From the lack of smooth paths to limited wheelchair access, there are all kinds of reasons why travel locations with gorgeous natural beauty aren’t always very accessibility-friendly. Some attention is, though, now being focused on making spaces like these as accessible as possible: locations like Montana’s Glacier National Park, for example, have installed wheelchair-friendly trails in some parts of the park. With that in mind, this article will look at some more accessibility ideas for national park managers and other travel and outdoors professionals to consider. Make paths smoother National parks do, of course, need to remain as natural as possible in order to respect ecosystems and continue to encourage tourism. But the lack of investment in the infrastructure around some of America’s natural spots means that sometimes not even basic access is possible. In some locations, not even the paths around car parks and other important areas are smooth – which means that those who find walking a challenge may be unable to even get as far as the base of a mountain or the side of a lake. But there are some positive signs: the California Department of Parks and Recreation, for example, has released a tool which allows visitors with disabilities to plan trips to... read more
Rush Ranch provides a new lease on life

Rush Ranch provides a new lease on life

It wasn’t the sight of the horses that triggered something inside Brent Satterlee’s brain.  It was the smell of manure and earth that started to bring back memories, says his wife, Kristi Satterlee.  “It was like a fog lifted, and he just woke up.” Brent spent 20 years in the US Army as a combat medic, but towards the end of his successful career, the otherwise strong and healthy man started showing signs of early on-set dementia. Kristi and Brent have been good friends for thirty years, but she rarely saw him.  Three years ago, they were reunited at a birthday party for Brent and she was shocked to see how much he had declined due to the disease.  He was dangerously thin and was headed toward assisted living because he could no longer care for himself.  Determined to turn things around, the couple married and Kristi went to work to get him healthy again.  Her strategy included walks in open spaces.  She wasn’t a hiker, so it took some research to discover Lake Herman, Pena Adobe, Lynch Canyon and Rush Ranch. Memories of the land Kristi knew that Brent spent part of his youth on a large ranch in Northern California.  On their first visit to Rush Ranch, Kristi saw something spark in Brent while they were standing in front of the stallion barn.  She talked to Monatte, the Rush Ranch Steward, who told them that Access Adventure has a wounded vet program.  They signed up. Now Brent comes to Rush Ranch twice a week, where with Kristi’s help he feeds the horses, mucks the stalls, and works... read more
BARN RAISING

BARN RAISING

Our friends at Lighthouse for the Blind have an AmeriCorps Team helping to rebuild their Enchanted Hills Camp damaged in the devastating Wine Country fire. The team had a free day and volunteered to help with a stable construction project at Rush Ranch. The awesome crew accomplished a great deal. In one day, they laid the foundation for a new stable, then returned to frame and raise the walls of this new structure. A third day of work will finish the interior walls, bringing the project near to completion. Access Adventure is applying for its own AmeriCorps team for the summer of this year. AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, residential based program for young adults aged 18-24 (with no upper age limit to serve as a Team Leader). Members develop leadership skills and strengthen communities by completing service projects and gaining life experience. Teams, comprised of 8-10 members, complete multiple projects that address essential community needs throughout the United States. During the ten month service term, members receive lodging, transportation, uniform and meals. Upon completion of the program, members are eligible to receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, equal to the maximum Pell Grant amount, $5,920 as of October 1,... read more

JUDY WAELBROCK IS SOLANO COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR

Beyond our program partnership with the Solano Land Trust, our longest collaboration (spanning more than a decade) is with the students and teachers of Golden Hills School. On Fridays during the school year, Golden Hills teacher Judy Waelbrock brings a group of special needs students to volunteer at our Rush Ranch headquarters. Judy, and her enthusiastic crew pitch in wherever needed, performing tasks for Access Adventure and our stable of horses. Along the way, Judy’s students learn the value of teamwork, essential job skills and develop a sense of satisfaction in helping us do our important work for people with disabilities and other underserved members of our communities. In recognition of her outstanding leadership and teaching skills at Golden Hills, Judy Waelbrock has been honored as the Solano County Office of Education’s Educator of the Year. We are also honored to have Judy as a volunteer, a sponsor and a treasured friend. Congratulations, Judy for this well-deserved award!  See... read more

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“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature can heal body and soul.” ~ John Muir