LaRue Sprouse Dowd
LaRue Sprouse Dowd is a CHA Certified Instructor and PATH Certified Instructor at Sprouse’s Corner Ranch, LLC. LaRue grew up in Dillwyn, Virginia. She has been riding since she was old enough to walk. She started showing Hunt seat and Western in her pre-teen years at local horse shows. Following her sister’s suit, she began taking Saddle Seat riding lessons before she turned ten years old. With the purchase of her first American Saddlebred, each show season was filled with Equitation classes, Pleasure classes, Driving and Parade Classes. During this time, LaRue achieved such accomplishments as ASHAV High Point Champion in the Equitation and Pleasure divisions, Virginia State 4-H Horse Show Champion in the Equitation, Pleasure, and Driving divisions, and Regional 4-H Champion, while serving as the Buckingham Pegasus 4-H Horse and Pony Club President for four years. She also began teaching riding lessons to help pay for the horse shows.
LaRue went to college at Morehead State University in Kentucky. There, she attained a degree in Veterinary Technology with a minor in Horsemanship. She was on the Intercollegiate Equestrian Team for four years, successfully competing in Hunter/Jumper and Western classes to the Eastern Regional and Zones levels. She was the instructor for the MSU Advanced Saddleseat course during her junior year. During the summer, LaRue was the coach of the Saddleseat summer show team, traveling to shows throughout Kentucky showing three-gaited and five-gaited American Saddlebreds.
After graduation, LaRue worked at George Knight Stables and Nelson Green Stables, two premier American Saddlebred show stables in the heart of Lexington, Kentucky. After two years on the World Championship show circuit, LaRue decided to return to college to further her Veterinary Technology interest. After receiving a degree in Equine Therapy from Midway College, LaRue worked for two years in one of the largest equine veterinary hospitals in the United States; Hagyard-Davidson-Magee Veterinary Institute. During that time, LaRue developed the riding lesson program at Ed Cochriel Stables in Lexington, Kentucky, which has now evolved into the Lexington Riding Academy. She then began to work independently with her own business, Equine Sports Therapeutics, LLC. Her practice included the use of therapeutic ultrasound, laser, electrical stimulation and infrasound modalities on equine injuries. LaRue practiced equine therapy while traveling on the race horse circuit in Kentucky, Florida, and New York. She had the privilege of providing sports medicine therapy to horses in races such as the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, and many others. LaRue was also the president of the Association of Equine Sports Therapy.
LaRue decided to return home to Virginia to fulfill her life long dream on building a horse farm and teaching the community what she had learned in her travels. While developing Sprouse’s Corner Ranch, LaRue directed the riding lesson program at Grand View Lake Farm in Prospect, Virginia. After 3 years of preparation, Sprouse’s Corner Ranch opened in June of 2008. LaRue is the head instructor, trainer and operations manager. Today she is a leader in Buckingham's Pegasus 4-H Horse and Pony Club and serves on the board for Heartland Horse Heroes. She is also a member of the Buckingham Chamber of Commerce.
Meet Lynn Owen, she has been an avid horse woman for her entire life. Thirty-three years ago, Lynn dreamed of being involved with therapeutic riding, though she is currently a registered nurse as a Certified Emergency Nurse, she also has a degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Special Education and Psychology. Her life had taken a different path and she wasn’t able to pursue that dream until later. In 2012, Lynn had a chance meeting with a mother of a child with cerebral-palsy who was enrolled in therapeutic riding. The student’s mother introduced Lynn to LaRue Sprouse Dowd, the program director of Heartland Horse Heroes, where the student was enrolled in lessons.
Since August of 2012, Lynn Owen has been a volunteer for Heartland Horse Heroes in private lessons. Two years ago, she became fully involved in the program as a board member and became a volunteer with the group lessons in the Buckingham County School Therapeutic Riding Program. At that time, she began the track to Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified instructor status, followed by 25 hours of student teaching under the mentorship of Certified PATH Instructor, LaRue Sprouse Dowd.
In June of 2017, Lynn finished the process by attending a four-day workshop in Charleston, South Carolina, sponsored by the Heartland Horse Heroes’ Board of Directors. The workshop was two and half days of classroom and the remainder of the days were hands-on, working with both riding and teaching students. The lessons Lynn taught were evaluated by PATH Master Level Instructors, she passed the teaching portion with flying colors and is currently an instructor for our Buckingham County School Therapeutic Riding Program for Fall 2017. At the workshop, there were highly qualified instructors who presented valuable materials that she was able to bring back and implement into this program.
Lynn is looking forward to building on that learning experience with the HHH program in the coming semesters; she has learned a number of valuable tools to facilitate the learning experience for the students in upcoming sessions. Lynn has been a wonderful asset to our program, and we look forward to her continued instruction at Heartland Horse Heroes.
Heidi Reynolds has been an equine enthusiast since she was a young child, and growing up on a farm she had horses on off throughout her childhood. Heidi has always had a passion for helping others, especially through animals. She became involved in therapeutic riding around the age of 9, and her love for it only grew from there.
Heidi’s first involvement with Sprouse’s Corner Ranch was in early 2013, and a year later she began helping as a volunteer with a student at Heartland. After being involved on and off for the last few years at the ranch, Heidi moved closer to the facility to begin working as the barn manager and mainstream riding instructor in the spring of 2018. Through a grant provided by Heartland Horse Heroes, she completed her instructor-in-training education and traveled to Milford, Pennsylvania to become a certified PATH Registered Instructor; which she passed without a hitch. Heidi has also worked as an Equine Nutrition Specialist and Consultant for Southern States. She is branching out into mainstream teaching; as well as making plans for college and continuing her equestrian education and working towards more accomplishments in that area.
She owns a lovely Arabian gelding named Al’ain Oasis and loves jumping, trail rides, and everything in between, and loves working with all types of horses at the ranch and at other facilities. She is passionate about living a positive lifestyle, spreading kindness and creating positivity and growth in people and animals. Heidi is looking forward to continually touching the lives of individuals in need and being part of the team making a difference here at Heartland Horse Heroes.