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The one resolution, which was in my mind long before it took the form of a resolution, is the key-note of my life. It is this, always to regard as mere impertinences of fate the handicaps placed upon my life…Helen Keller

Rhythm of the Rein Program and Instructors Win Governor’s Award

Rhythm of the rein therapeutic riding program and its instructors dianne lashoones and libby hale received the governor’s award for professional of the year at the Brain Injury of Vermont Annual Conference in Burlington, Vermont on October 8, 2013.  One of Rhythm of the Rein’s client organizations, PRIDE SUPPORT SERVICES, with input from their riders and staff, had written a letter nominating Dianne and Libby,  and while the nomination in itself was an incredible honor,  being selected was humbling and very deeply appreciated.  We wish to thank our friends at PRIDE and want to let them know their visits to the farm are always  a highlight of our week. We are truly blessed to have been able to meet each and every one of you. We think the nominating letter is every bit as much the award as the award itself


Nominating Letter from Pride

Pride Support Services would like to nominate our friends at Rhythm of the Rein Therapeutic horseback Riding Center for professional of the year.

Many of our organizations services recipients have been riding for almost 6 years.  Each person loves and looks forward to their time at the farm with Dianne and Libby, they are such open, enthusiastic and wonderful people!!  When someone comes to ride, even if they are in a wheelchair or use a walker they don’t see people who cannot get on a horse they see each person as an individual!  They don’t worry that someone might not be able to ride a horse they figure out how they are going to get on and ride, to them nothing is impossible.  It is very difficult to explain how it feels to be free and moving when riding, but it is an exhilarating experience that they provide.  The horses at the farm are gentle and strong they make each person feel their own personal power and helps them to believe they can do anything that they set their minds to in their life.

It is incredible how when someone believes in you, you start believing you can do anything and you see the impossible as achievable. We think that is why Dianne and Libby started their program, they want everyone to feel the way they make the survivors at Pride feel.

Ron, Deb, AJ , Lori, Dennis, Andrew, Jason, Crystal


Diane Lashoones, a New England native, is Rhythm of the Rein’s founder as well as program manager. She has 34 years of experience as a licensed physical therapist along with 8 years of experience as a PATH certified instructor. She has provided professional healthcare services in a number of private and public settings, including sports therapy, geriatrics, and pediatric and adult special needs. Diane also has lifelong experience in the equine industry, having owned Rhythm of the Rein’s host site, Water Tower Farms, a public equestrian facility since 1989. Water Tower Farms is a successful Tennessee Walking Horse breeding, trading, and sales operation where Diane teaches as a certified Tennessee Walking Horse instructor. She also serves on the board of directors of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeding and Exhibitor Association, the president of the New England Walking Horse Association, and has presented clinics in this country and abroad.


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Libby Hale, a northern East Coast native, has been a licensed physical therapy assistant for 18 years. Libby’s interest in therapeutic riding surfaced when she briefly lived in California and became a volunteer at a therapeutic riding center. Upon return to the East Coast, she decided to further pursue this interest. Today, Libby is ARIA (American Riding Instructor Association) Certified Recreational Riding Instructor, a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and an AHA (American Hippotherapy Association) Level II hippotherapy practitioner. She is also the local region’s only PATH Registered Therapist in Hippotherapy.

Melissa DeLuke Falk, MS, OTR/L is a registered and licensed Occupational Therapist who practices in Vermont and operates MDF Therapies, LLC. She offers both mounted and unmounted OT services to our clients. Melissa graduated from St. Michaels College with an undergraduate degree in Biology in 2003, and received her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy at Tufts University in 2009. She worked at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, MA managing a revolving caseload of patients with traumatic brain injuries and musculoskeletal traumas in an acute neuro-rehabilitative setting. Melissa is also an avid horseback rider of 20 years, and a PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Horseback Riding Instructor. Melissa taught therapeutic horseback riding lessons at Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding program in Lincoln, MA for six years. At Lovelane Melissa worked with individuals ages 2-20 with conditions such as cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome, autism, spina bifida, developmental delays, ataxia telangiectasia, and others. Melissa has also worked in skilled nursing facilities in Boston, MA and Rutland, VT, providing occupational therapy services to geriatric clients with a compilation of deficits limiting their functional independence. Melissa is delighted to expand her practice to Rhythm of the Rein, providing comprehensive occupational therapy services to children and adults in a holistic farm-based setting.

Elizabeth Belote and Dick Chase Elizabeth Belote and Dick Chase

Beth Belote was born and raised in Vermont. She discovered a love for horses at an early age. Beth started going to horse camp at age seven, but that was not enough horse time for her. In 2001 she started volunteering with Dianne Lashoones and Libby Hale in the therapeutic riding program. In 2005, Beth was the “Donkey wrangler” for Circus Smirkus. She was tasked with the safety of the two young mini donkeys and their health, care and training during the tour. There was such a bond between her and the donkeys that she couldn’t say “good-bye” to them. She adopted them soon after. This was actually the start of her learning driving. Meanwhile, she continued her education. Beth started college at Colorado State University where she was studying Equine sciences and took a course in therapeutic riding. She also spent some time volunteering at a couple of therapeutic riding centers in the Fort Collins area. After two and a half years, circumstances changed and Beth transferred to Cazenovia College in NY. Here she graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors of Professional Studies in Business with a specialization in Equine Business. Upon returning home (vacations, holidays and some weekends), she continued to be a part of the Rhythm of the Rein and Water Tower Farm family. After graduation, the Rhythm of the Rein Board members asked her if she would help them start a therapeutic driving program to add to their services. Beth Belote is now a PATH intl. level one therapeutic driving instructor. When she is not teaching, she is taking care of the herd as the barn manager at Water Tower Farm.

Each have committed to exceed PATH’s requirements of continuing education to retain their PATH credentials and to provide optimal quality of services.