New horse nonprofit joins Valley stable

A Carson Valley Senior Living resident rides a scooter on Sunday to visit with retired racehorses. Photo Special to The R-C

A Carson Valley Senior Living resident rides a scooter on Sunday to visit with retired racehorses. Photo Special to The R-C


Retired racehorses and residents of Carson Valley Senior Living mingled over hot chocolate and a fire pit on Sunday.

Healing Arenas in Gardnerville moved from California to Celestial Farms in Gardnerville to provide a home for the former racehorses.

Founder and President Julie Baker said the organization has been accredited through the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

“We are excited for the opportunity to help more people, and horses, in our new location which has ample room and covered space for sessions,” Baker said. “We want to dive right into the community and provide much needed relief for our healthcare and first responders after the fires and the pandemic.”

Baker, who works part time at Carson Valley Medical Center, said she picked a name off the Angel Tree from a woman at the care center who said she’d like to meet some horses.

“Our nonprofit has only been here a month, and we wanted to do something for Christmas,” Baker said.

With the help of co-worker Daphne Hillier, Baker arranged a visit to the center for Dec. 16, but conditions were too icy for the horse trailer.

So instead, the center brought a handful of seniors out to the farm on Sunday.

“Going beyond the call of duty and volunteering her time to drive the seniors was Director of Life Enrichment Adrianna Ward,” Baker said. “Volunteers Christine, Kirsten and family, Blair and Nicole helped to make the afternoon a success.”

According to its web site, Healing Arenas’ mission is to promote emotional wellness through equine interaction and provide safe and restorative homes for retired racehorses.

Baker is making plans to serve area adults including first responders, healthcare providers, veterans, trauma survivors as well as corporate team building and professional and personal self-development via coaching with the horses. To learn more, visit, call 209-988-7800 or email to

“We’re currently seeking volunteers and professionals who would like to be a part of our team,” Baker said.

Carson Valley is home to at least two other organizations that focus on the therapeutic effects of horses.

Kids and Horses, located in northern Carson Valley, was founded in 1999 by Incline Village resident Sam Waldman.

It is conducting its annual fundraiser at in an effort to raise $3,000 to continue supporting their cause.

Between Horses and Humans was founded in 2010 and conducted its major fundraiser at the beginning of the month. For information about the nonprofit, visit


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