Robin McCary is a dedicated Taking the Reins board member. For as long as she can remember, she has prioritized finding ways to have horses in her life. It started by working at a local farm to pay for her horse’s board as a young teenager, and now it looks like spending her free time supporting, fundraising, and advocating for the girls and horses at TTR.
Her journey with Taking the Reins first began when a friend invited her to a fundraiser. After that, she was itching to find a way to be involved with the organization. As a single mother who was passionate about mentoring young girls – and missing having a horse of her own – beginning to volunteer at TTR was a no-brainer.
Before she knew it, McCary was making sacrifices to be part of TTR. “I was taking lessons at a local equestrian center,” McCary recalled about her early days with the nonprofit. “My free time was very limited. I chose to give up taking lessons so that I could fulfill my commitments at Taking the Reins. I get so much more than I give from spending time with these girls and horses.”
Part of the reason McCary has become so invested in the TTR programming is that she knows what a difference a similar program would’ve had on her life as a young girl.
“I would’ve gone to college if I had attended a program like Taking the Reins,” McCary reflected. “I didn’t have anyone in my life telling me college was an option. If I had been around people like these girls have at Taking the Reins, I could’ve had the guidance to make that happen.”
Realizing the positive impact of Taking the Reins through her variety of experiences and by reflecting on her own past, McCary is inspired to get more involved in the TTR mission. She is an active board member and newly a TTR horse owner. Not long ago, lesson horse Max ended up needing someone to take over his payments. When executive director Jane Haven approached Robin about the opportunity there was minimal hesitation.
“It was the perfect gift,” McCary stated about getting involved with Max. “At first I was just his special sponsor, but at the end of 2022 I was surprised with becoming his owner.” McCary enjoys having a horse to call her own, especially one who also gives back to the program she cares so much about.
McCary is also quick to compliment how TTR runs its organization. “Whatever they raise goes straight to programming,” McCary stated. “People should feel very confident about the money they donate.”
In addition, McCary wants to articulate how layered the TTR impact is.
“Girls come here for the chance to be around horses, and end up having their lives changed,” McCary said. “Graduates come back and tell us that all the time. Taking the Reins has a special way of empowering these women to the point that they are inspired to give back to others in the same way people gave to them.”
McCary hopes her story makes donors feel confident, encourages community members to volunteer and get involved, and shows people who have been bit by the “horse bug” that there is always a way to have them in your life.
“We are born with a love for horses,” McCary lovingly shared. “Part of the reason I am so dedicated to this mission is because I can relate to the girls. I didn’t come from a family who could financially support owning a horse, but I did what I could. If I found a way without a program like TTR, these girls are already at a huge advantage.”
McCary’s story displays the generational impact that Taking the Reins has. This program has the potential to inspire everyone who interacts with it.
To donate, or learn how to get more involved in Taking the Reins, visit www.takingthereins.org/