SHARED GIFTS
Supporting Dawn-Mar Farm

SHARED GIFTS, established in March of 2009, is a non-profit public charity located in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. The organization is dedicated to helping people with and without life challenges and /or disabilities gain confidence, find acceptance and experience the joys of life through the love, care and riding of retired horses and to providing shelter, humane care and a special purpose for those elder or abused horses that were no longer considered useful.

The 4-H Easy Riders program (40 years) and the Merrimack Valley Equestrian Special Olympics program (20 years) were both initiated by Marcia Evans, owner of Dawn-Mar Ranch Riding Academy (since 1960). For many years Marcia has selflessly given her time and talents to children who needed encouragement and direction to achieve their full potential and to aged and/or infirm horses that were unwanted and neglected, but are now thriving due to her loving and patient rehabilitation.  Together the children and the horses share the gifts of love, respect, understanding, commitment and the mutually beneficial goal of helping each other succeed.

Horseback riding helps a person physically by strengthening muscles and improving coordination. Therapeutic riding also contributes to the emotional and social well-being of the student by building self-esteem, patience and confidence. Individuals with almost any cognitive, physical and/or emotional disability can benefit from their physical and emotional connection with a horse.

The children in the program have a wide range of disabilities including Autism, Muscular Dystrophy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and physical handicaps, but the focus is solely on each student’s abilities and their individual progress is amazing. This year four students from our combined programs qualified to represent Merrimack County at the 4-H State Horse Show at the Deerfield fairgrounds. They were extremely proud to bring home numerous ribbons in various events. Eighty seven riders competed at the state level, and one of our kids, Kelly, ranked in the top fifteen overall. In the past Dawn-Mar's equestrians have competed in the World Special Olympics in Connecticut, bringing home two silver and three gold medals for New Hampshire. Just last year (2015) nine students qualified at the state level and three went on to the national level event.

Dawn-Mar loves its horses and is always anxious to introduce them to new friends. Even visitors who choose not to ride can benefit from an equine relationship. The best way to befriend horses is to show them kindness. Carrots or apples, a scratch in just the right spot, or a gentle brushing are always appreciated.

Dawn-Mar relies on grants and individual donations through Shared Gifts to keep their horses safe and healthy so they may continue to befriend children, and in return, receive the love and respect they deserve. Many of the senior horses require special diets to aid in digestion and allow nutrients to be absorbed.  Some actually have no teeth and therefore require a very personalized feeding regime.  Many of the horses have special shoeing requirements, and special medications are necessary to keep weight on, help with sore, arthritic joints, treat allergic reactions and soothe one chronically irritated eye.  Even keeping up with ordinary inoculations is a tremendous financial responsibility.  Senior horses generally have more medical emergencies.

Thank you for your heartfelt consideration.

Sincerely,
All of Us at Shared Gifts supporting Dawn-Mar Farm