Difference Maker, Horse Lover & Kindness Giver

Posted on July 01, 2019

MVHR's Amy Ben-Horin Shines

There’s that one person in your life, if you’re lucky, who lights up the room, who brings kindness and passion, knowledge and ability, someone who listens thoughtfully and offers solutions and opportunities. She’s just as excited to hang out coworkers, adults and young people. The person in our community who is all of this — and more — is Amy Ben-Horin.

Amy is theDirector of Community Programs at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. That means she works with horses; some who are suffering and neglected. She brings them back to life. She works with teens, some who are suffering too. She introduces preschoolers and elementary-school aged children, teens and adults to horses, teaching them kindness and respect, to be calm and allow the fear from being near a large animal to subside. Horses need us as much as we need them; horses, like us, need a purpose. This must be Amy's purpose because she does it so well and encourages others.

The board at MVHR shares, "Amy and her husband, Dan, recently made the move from Eagle to the Western Slope near Grand Junction. Amy will continue to be at the ranch through the conclusion of our busy summer day camp season. We are extremely grateful to her for making the commute each week to ensure things go smoothly during this transition! Amy has been an integral part of our team and we will miss her passion, dedication, program leadership and joyful demeanor. We are so grateful for all she has done during her tenure at MVHR and wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

“She has done an incredible job of connecting our horses to people of all demographics. She helps people form deep bonds with these horses; it’s benefitted the horses obviously and the people in our programs,” says Shana Devlin, executive director at MVHR.

Her journey to creating a thriving outdoor-based experience seems to be Amy’s guiding light. It started when she was younger and her aunt introduced her to horses. She’s always loved the outdoors — hiking, biking, climbing, riding — being part of nature. She had an equal affinity for helping young people. Combine that with her ‘get-it-done’ attitude and it seems she is an unstoppable force.

She combined the two areas and earned her Master’s degree in education with a concentration in Adventure and Environmental Education for Special Needs. This set the base for her next steps: she started an outdoor, experiential-based program for teens after school. Kids were given the freedom to explore, to get dirty, to take in the natural world whiling learning to self advocate and be respectful of nature and others. This program morphed into Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center (USELC), a summer camp and after-school program she co-founded that engaged young people to be outdoors.

Amy is so passionate about teaching respect and caring, encouraging kindness she gave a TedX talk about it — to her it’s an acronym. CARING stands for compassion, adventure, respect, integrity, nature, and giving back, and they are values she embraces daily.

“She firmly believes in making connections if it means getting hotdogs for volunteers. She really grown the programs and took an idea the organization had and tried to get off ground for many years. She gave form and instruction and curriculum. She allowed them to exist,” Devlin adds.

She has impacted our community by teaching kids to be resilient, compassionate and passionate. And sadly, she will be leaving Eagle County at the end of the summer. However, she will always have a place to visit — probably at the homes of all of us whom she has influenced over the years.

Read Amy's farewell letter here.

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Eagle River Youth Coalition - Making Youth a Community Priority
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