Blaze a Path Forward

Blaze, our oldest therapy horse, is leading the way into 2021. See him running in the photo below. Check out the plans for our addition to the arena and learn more about upcoming projects at Miracles.

Blaze a Path Forward

Miracles is using 2020 as a time to make changes we think can improve our riders’ experience in 2021 and beyond.  We have the support of The Hall Perrine Foundation to add an addition on to our arena (a new “front door”) and enclose the Pavilion to make it more useable. We will also be resurfacing the driveway.  Check out the arena plans, a fact sheet on the projects and learn about supporting our efforts…  

The August 10th Derecho

We learned a new word this week: derecho. And we learned how to manage without power, which resulted in no fresh water. Our volunteers helped clean up the shingles, branches, and other debris that the winds deposited in pastures and around the house. On Thursday Camryn and Kira filled a 300-gallon water tank at the Swisher Fire Department, and then filled a couple water tanks for our thirsty horses. Thanks, everyone.

Coronavirus Update

June 26, 2020 – When we updated you in April about Miracle’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic, we thought that by summer, we would have a clear-cut path forward to resuming classes.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case, particularly with the recent increase in cases in Linn and Johnson counties. Our Reopening Committee has met to strategize what steps we need to take when we are comfortable to reopen. We have ordered face shields, masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, an additional hand washing station, distancing posters, and a thermometer all to be prepared for when it feels safe to again hold in-person classes.

At the beginning of June we started Zoom online classes for small groups of therapeutic riding students. The students watch videos describing what happens before their horse enters the arena for them to begin class. There are also handouts that have worksheets and examples of proper footwear, grooming tools, treats, etc. After watching the videos, our PATH instructor, Diana Harris, holds the Zoom class and participants are taken through the steps to get a horse ready for class in an interactive format. Our instructor-in-training Nikole Tutton is doing the next series of these classes in a similar format.

Small family groups are being scheduled to visit the farm so that our students can maintain contact with their favorite horse and Miracles. 

We have also been making behind-the-scenes videos so everyone can stay in touch with the farm and the horses. 

We are all anxious to resume a full schedule of classes, but we know that it is important to do that in a responsible manner. Our primary concern is keeping our students, staff, instructors, and volunteers safe. We will update you on our website as the situation evolves. Please stay safe. 

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye - Jasper


You could set your watch by Jasper waiting at the gate for grain morning and evening. If you were late, he would let you know by banging on the gate. It took him a long time to eat – and just when you would think he was done, he would lower his head to eat a bit more. It was hard to know if he really needed that long to eat, or just wanted to prolong his time in the barn. He was easy to spot in the field – with his white face, three white socks and small size. He was perfect for first time/small riders, as he seemed to know he needed to be really careful in carrying them around the arena. Even when we “retired” him, he would be called on to do one more session with a small rider and he relished being back at work. 

There wasn’t a dry eye in the group as we knew it was time to send him on his way. He had been at Miracles 19 years and his records say he was born in 1989, so would be 31, although anecdotally many thought he was closer to 40. Our thanks to veterinarian, Jim McNutt, and Altorfer Cat Rental in Cedar Rapids for helping Nick, Deb and Karla make the transition as easy as possible. 

Jasper's Fans Comment

It is hard to put into words what this horse has meant to me and all of the volunteers and board members here at Miracles in Motion. I think about the hundreds and hundreds of students and clients that have ridden Jasper over his 19 years of being at Miracles in Motion. The therapy and friendship Jasper has given to every one of us at one time or another has truly been his gift. Jasper loved being in the field, his stall, but he was in his element in the arena during therapeutic classes and hippotherapy sessions. For Jasper it was game on! Jasper could engage with whomever was riding him. He knew how to connect, how to strengthen that rider, how to heal. Not all horses have that power, but Jasper did. The stories are endless, just talk to his riders and their parents, volunteers and instructors on how Jasper could change a rider’s day.

Jasper has not left Miracles as he will always be a part of each of us here. Jasper gave his all every day, and the hardest part of loving a horse is letting him go. This horse was one of my best friends, a teacher and a true ambassador to the mission of Miracles.

We know that Jasper’s riding is done here at Miracles but Jasper and all the great therapy horses never leave us. Their spirit rides in our hearts and carries us through the sorrow that we are feeling right now. I know that my heart is sad for me, but I also know that Jasper is relishing in his new life. And we know we do not have to look much further than our hearts to find Jasper. -Deb

Jasper is at peace.  He leaves behind many heavy hearts - a good horse who touched many people. -Maggie

Oh no!!  So sorry to hear he has not improved.  Such a special gentleman. -Nancy

I was sorry to hear about Jasper leaving us. When it is time, it is his time. Love that old guy. -Jackie

Wow, this hurts more than others. At least he is with Scooter and Red. And young again. -Ken

I’m so sorry. I agree with this assessment but it’s still such a hard reality. This is so soon after Scooter but maybe that’s just the way. The old boys were buddies for a long time. -Karla

Oh no. I am so sad to hear this. -Mary

Jasper was always the horse we used with little ones in hippotherapy - so gentle, so patient, so tolerant, and so willing to keep working beyond our expectations.  He never gave up and was truly loved by so many children (and grownups too!). I’m so sad that he is gone.  -Karla, Physical Therapist

Of all the wonderful horses I had the privilege of helping to care for during my relatively short time as a chores volunteer at Miracles, Jasper touched my heart in a special way. He reminded me of a dear gelding that was my riding partner and best friend for 28 of his 31 years. Jasper's way of connecting with the humans in his realm and his devotion to his role as an equine therapist were truly remarkable. RIP Jasper. I envision you now running and playing with Scooter in eternity's heavenly green pastures. -Judith

Jasper died Wednesday, June 24, 2020.  

Here you can donate in his memory.

Volunteers Spruce up Miracles Gardens

Some of our volunteers, including Michelle, Sue, and Mary, have had more time than usual this summer, and they have weeded, planted, and beautified the gardens (scroll down to see the image gallery of the gardens) around the house and in front of the barn. If you are interested in volunteering at Miracles, there are lots of non-horse related opportunities, including gardening.

We asked… and you responded!

Thanks to all of you that supported the Global Giving and Unity Day as well as Cinco’s 15 th birthday!

Cinco particularly appreciated the extra birthday treats that TJ fed to him.

Money raised will be supporting our development of on-demand videos as well as Zoom-based therapeutic riding classes.

TJ feeding Cinco his birthday treats

Global Day of Action for Giving

Help us help our students missing their time with Miracles horses!  And help Cinco celebrate his 15th birthday!  (Did you know Cinco was born on 5/5/05 – hence his name – Cinco!) This May 5th is also the Day of Global Action for Giving and Unity in Response to COVID-19. A generous donor will match contributions made until 5/9/20. 

We’re developing on-line programming and could use your help! Cinco also thinks it's his chance to capture the starring role! Cinco says, "I want to be a star, but I'm not crazy about the wardrobe requirements!"

Here’s more information on how you can help! 

In Memory of Scooter

Everyone at Miracles has been touched by spending time with our therapy horses, particularly Scooter. We are saddened to say goodbye. He touched so many lives since coming to Miracles in 2006. He was a Standardbred Pacer, which is no surprise to anyone who led him around the arena – (or was led by him!) He was always willing to “walk on.”  At Miracles, he was used in both hippotherapy and therapeutic riding,  sometimes in the same day. He was a versatile and generous horse.

Here are just some of the comments made by board members and volunteers on learning of his passing:

He will be missed forever in our hearts and the hearts of our students. --Nikole 

He's been a good boy.  He could not have received more support. But I think his body was telling us time to let go. But we will miss him. --Colleen 

Scooter always gave his best. Such a role model for human and horse. As we loved him so, we knew it was time to let him go.

Scooter was all of this and more. --Deb

I enjoyed leading Scooter in TR classes. When the Instructors would play Green light/Red light we always won, thrilling the rider with Scooter's quick step. He was always willing to Walk On and quickly. It just won’t be the same. --Jerry

While serving as a side walker and then a horse leader with Miracles in Motion, I had the opportunity to work with Scooter quite a bit. I quickly recognized what a wonderful asset he is to all the therapeutic riding programs. His dedication is outstanding and because of his unique personality, I wanted to provide him with continued support through the Adopt a Horse program. --Tracy

I am so sorry. He was a sweetie.

If you wish to donate in memory of Scooter, here is the link


April 3. Our thoughts go out to our families, staff, volunteers, therapists, board, and instructors during this very difficult time.  We know that a change of routine can be very distressing, most of all for our parents and students. Please stay safe everyone!

We have cancelled classes and volunteer training  through the last week in April. We will continue to monitor conditions and let you know as soon as we decide about the remaining sessions.

Of course, we need to continue feeding our herd! We are so grateful for our staff and chore volunteers who continue to look after the needs of our wonderful therapy horses!

Because we have volunteers who feed and tend to the horses daily, we are taking videos and photos and posting on our Facebook page. Check there often.

Want to keep in touch with a horse? Send your favorite horse a letter. We will read it to the horse and video the horse listening. Would you like to read a story to one of our horses? Write a story? Draw a picture to decorate the horse stalls? We welcome your ideas about keeping in touch with MIracles in Motion. Please send us your ideas.

Thank You

We asked and you responded. Miracles goes into 2020 in solid financial shape because of your year-end support. Our Giving Tuesday goal was $5000; we raised $4985. For year-end our goal was $20,000 and donations totaled $21,155. This results in over $50,000 to support the programs at Miracles in Motion. Thank you.

Riding is Serious Business

Thanks to our two year-end match sponsors. Jim & Mary Pratt again matched the first $5000 of end-of-the-year contributions to honor the memory of Ethan, Seth, Mira, and Eleanor Sueppel. Lois James matched the remaining $16,155 contributions in memory of her horse Sanchez who taught her everything she knows about horses, riding, and life.

We all love it when our kids do well and Jessie’s mom is no exception. Here is what she had to say about riding at Miracles this season:
August 2019
Jessie rode so beautifully at Miracles in Motion last night. She has come such a long way since the beginning of this session. She and her horse Brett make a perfect team. I love watching her ride. What a magnificent young woman!
Sept. 2019
Jessie did her last ride tonight at Miracles in Motion for the fall session. Now we wait until spring. Jessie no longer needs two sidewalkers because she controls the horse so well. She was able to get her horse to behave when he started not listening or following directions. Jessie is a FREAKIN rockstar!

See for yourself – here’s a video and more photos of Jessie through the year at Miracles.

Our thanks to our Giving Tuesday match sponsor, Jean Walker!

Thank you to all who donated to our Giving Tuesday campaign, and to our match sponsor, Jean Walker.  Jean is a consistent supported of Miracles who stepped up with a $5000 match to donations for Giving Tuesday. The campaign closed out December 8th and raised $4,985!  Very, very close to our goal!  

Jessie, one of our therapeutic riding students says “riding is serious business”. It’s serious business for Jean also, except at Halloween. Here is a shot of her and her horse, Murphy, dressed for the occasion!  


My daughter, who has Down syndrome, has been riding with Miracles in Motion for several years.

It is amazing that working to ride and care for a horse is not only therapeutic but also improves her skills and development. Through Miracles, we have seen her muscle tone, coordination, attention, and speech improve.

The great strides in endurance and strength have enabled her to participate more in her peers' activities of running, jumping, and playing.

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We have seen her muscle tone, coordination, attention, and speech improve.