Mountainside Stables Goffstown, NH
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Special Events Testimonials and Poems





“As a former student and presently an assistant to her 4-H program, I can attest to the quality of Joanne Gelinas’s horsemanship program. Her concern and care for her students and horses makes her program standout next to other programs. She is always putting the interest of her students first, offering to them a first rate program to teach them the skills they will use in the horse world. With a well-rounded education in the equine field, Joanne is able to provide experience to her students that they would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. She is a role model for her students, teaching them more than just horsemanship, she provides a foundation of good sportsmanship and the skills needed to ensure safety for themselves and their equine partners whether they are working or playing. Joanne and her program deserve to be commended for the knowledge and skills they provide to all of those who she teaches as they pass through her equine program.”

Pam Larivee


Chicken Soup for the Volunteer’s Soul


A small barn, located on a mountainside in New Hampshire, was snowed in by one of New England’s latest snow storms. It had been a mild winter up until this devastating snow storm. The intercom was left on in the barn of local 4-H leader Joanne Gelinas when all of a sudden an unusually loud noise came from it that did not seem right. The coat, hat and boots came on immediately and I ran frantically to see what was happening in the barn. When I got to the stall of Toppy, a twenty-eight year old Appaloosa mare, her big brown eyes were wincing in pain. The abnormal amount of sweat coming from her prompted a quick call to the vet. I knew she was colicing, which is acute abdominal pain, so I immediately started to walk in the cold of winter very close to midnight. I called my son on the intercom o see if he could come out to help. When he appeared I could see the look of concern in his eyes. He knew how much everyone loved Toppy. Being a 4-H project horse she had attended many shows with many different students that adored her. He asked if she would be okay. I responded that I sure hoped so, not to let him know that the end result would not be a happy one. The local vet came down the snowy drive and made her way to the barn. She examined her thoroughly and determined that the problem was a twisted gut. Those were the worst possible words I was hoping to hear. Tears started to roll down my rosy cheeks not believing that my twenty-eight year old mare was going to die. I had owned her since she was a yearling. She taught me so much during my teenage years adn was a great companion. I ran up to the house to get my husband, who had to shovel a path up to the driveway from the barn for her to be quietly rested in soft snow until the next morning when she would be taken away. As she drifted off I thanked her for all that she had done for me and told her that I would always love her. The next morning a few calls were made to the 4-H students who had been close with her and came up to visit for one final farewell. Although tears came from them I could see how much they loved adn respected her. They had learned so much from her. The values and life skills learned from her cannot be replaced, along with the memories they will have for a lifetime.


The following paper was written by one of my students

on the memories left behind by Toppy:

“You left us here, standing before you with tears in our eyes and a loss in our souls. The wind sighs in vain and the trees around us weep, because they know it is a day of sadness. We hold on to ourselves in-between the shivers inside us, as I look into a familiar eye of a friend. My thoughts race of love forgotten and the loss of a best friend. You taught me patience and was there to comfort me. You made me smile when I was in tears and watched in content as I slowly drifted away. You are now free to run through the paths and dirt roads that have carried us both on those sweet summer days. You can now gallop through the field that was a forbidden dream to you, and eat grass along the road that you were always tugged unwillingly away from. You have watched me grow and shape my life. Now that you are gone you took a little piece of me with you, so I won’t fear for you because there is a little piece of you in me. And every day, that piece will teach me and grow, until it burst from me and returns to you with a love never forgotten. This will be the day I will cry, for I have lost you.”


by Colleen B.






Connecting Youth Through Horses by Katie Mitchell


            Connecting youth through horses is such an easy topic to talk about because there are so many wonderful moments and partnerships created between a child, young adult or any person for that matter, and their horse.   Through my own experiences in 4-H with a project horse, and then a horse of my own I have learned a great deal of skills and values which I hold true to this day in my early adulthood.  Skills such as good teamwork, high work-ethic, patience and so on, as well as values such as loving and caring, kindness and giving back are all traits that come to mind which I have practiced and learned through working with horses.

            I joined a horse 4-H group when I was eight years old, which was the earliest age anyone can be eligible to join.  From the beginning our leader urged us to become involved in activities which would help increase our knowledge of horses.  As soon as I was old enough I began trying to earn my first project horse, which meant completing so many hours of barn chores and spending time with the horses at the farm.  I would have been at the barn every day if I could have been.  Something about the smell of horses and the feeling of being in their presence is such a wonderful thing to behold.  Now that I am older, being in a barn completely relaxes me and clears my mind from everything else going on in my life, which is a pretty powerful tool. 

            My horse showing career was not full of blue ribbons and trophies by any means, but I had the time of my life.  I knew how lucky I was to be able to ride my horse and compete against other riders and friends.  The atmosphere was wonderful, and I am still involved as often as possible with 4-H shows to this day, in part to try and recapture the feelings I had as a child, and in part to be able to give back for all of the countless hours other volunteers had put in for horseshows when I was a child.  One of my favorite parts about the horse shows was preparing the horse and equipment for the show.  My 4-H leader did a wonderful job of teaching us how to be prepared for a horseshow.  All of our equipment was spotless; our horses were bathed, clipped and banded, usually all in one day.  However it was not only the day before that we prepared.  Preparations began once we could begin riding in the spring.  This is when we would rekindle our partnerships with our horses who we had not ridden all winter.    

            Horses teach patience and kindness, because if you are patient and kind to a horse, they are patient and kind right back.  Horses teach a person to be confident, because they most certainly can sense if a person is nervous, but they will be kind and strong to ease your worries.  Horses teach a person how to give their share in a partnership, because if a horse works hard for you, you need to work hard for your horse to make sure he or she receives the best care.  Horses can sense your moods, and can turn a sad or bad mood right around and make a person happy again.  The lessons a horse can teach are unlike any other.  I know I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to have horses in my life and to have had the opportunity to grow through my experiences with horses.  I only wish more children were as lucky as I had been as a child to be able to learn and grow with something as special as a horse.     



Hug Your Horse


When your day seems out of balance and so many things go wrong,

when people fight around you and the day drags on so long,

when parents act like children, in-laws make you think "Divorce",

go out in your pasture... wrap your arms around your horse.

His gentle breath enfolds you and he watches with those eyes.

He may not have a PhD, but he is oh, so wise!

His head rests on your shoulder. You embrace him oh so tight.

He puts your world in balance, and makes it seem all right.

Your tears will soon stop flowing. The tension is now eased.

The garbage has been lifted, and you're quiet and at peace.

So when you need the balance from circumstances in your day,

the best therapy that you can seek is out there eating hay!!


Copyright owner/Author:~Mary Anne Miller~Thank you Mary Anne, we love it!




Just a Horse!


From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a horse,”

Or “That’s a lot of money for just a horse.”

They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent,

or the costs involved for “just a horse.”

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a horse.”

Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a horse,”

but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a horse,”

and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a horse”

Gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a horse,” then you will probably understand phrases like

“just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”

“Just a horse” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust,

and pure unbridled joy. “Just a horse” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a horse”

but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a woman/man.”

So the next time you hear the phrase “just a horse” just smile,

because they “just” don’t understand.



He knows when you're happy
He knows when you're comfortable
He knows when you're confident
And he always knows when you have carrots.

~Author Unknown



Somewhere in time's own space
There must be some sweet pastured place
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow
Some paradise where horses go,
For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.

~Stanley Harrison


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