From The Director's Saddle

By Brandy Crago
SSTM Executive Director
As the Grandparent of a child with special needs, I get a small taste of what so many of our families go through. With a diagnosis of hemiplegia, I watch my grandson struggle to use the right side of his body, he’ll get frustrated, his balance suffers, and at times, so does his confidence.

Recently I took Isaiah to Chick-fil-A for lunch. He loves going in their playroom, mostly because of all the kids that are there. At 3 years old he does his best to climb the stairs, use the slide, and keep up with the other kids his age but because of his balance he can become apprehensive.

He refused to try the slides but did his best to climb the deep stairs. The other children just ran past him as he sat on the stairs but one little girl named Lilly stopped and offered to help him. She took him by his hand and led him up the stairs, then showed him how she went down the slide. She ran back up the stairs, took him by the hand and helped him slide down with her.

Lilly continued to encourage Isaiah till he was climbing the stairs and sliding all on his own with great confidence. She was so proud of his accomplishments that she hugged him (which is his most favorite thing) and praised his efforts. “Yay you did it!” she would say and then clap for him.

What an amazing little girl. Just her presence in that play area changed Isaiah’s perspective. No longer was he apprehensive about what was hard for him. He was willing to try because Lilly took the time to notice his fear and lead the way for him.

Christmas is a time to remember Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. Jesus came to this earth fully God and fully man. He left his place in heaven because he noticed our struggles and fears. He set an example and offers to lead us to a way of life that offers freedom. Everything that prevents us from living an abundant life can now be overcome if we let him take us by the hand and lead.
Matthew 1:23
The virgin will conceive a child.
She will give birth to a son
and they will call him Immanuel
which means “God is with us.”


Exciting Happenings

Shining Stars All Around
Festive Arena Activities
By Lynn Redden
SSTM Driving Director
This year's pre-Christmas Dinner Show arena activities were the best & busiest ever! Instructor Rachel Stoner and mini Thelma were quite the pair in their matching elf outfits. They were a photo opportunity feature not to be missed, with the blue sleigh and the backdrop of painted western storefronts.  In the observation room, there was a train set up, along with Mr. and Mrs. Santa, and sweet goodies.

Our pre-show activities were almost taken over by mini-horses this year. We had mini Thelma as an Elf, and Mabel, the miniature donkey, in the nativity scene.  Mini Louise transformed into a reindeer, along with our newest diving horse, Tig, also donning antlers to make you smile. This was the first time for both Louise and Tig giving carriage and cart rides before the dinner show. The vehicles were decorated with lighted wreaths and bells to add to the festivities and a fun time was had by all.

My volunteers were kept quite busy, with Tammy Poor snapping pics in between heading horses during loading and unloading. And Sue's husband John helped people in and out of the vehicles.  As Brandy suggested, I needed a 5th volunteer to be the cookie year for sure! Anyone wishing to help with the 2019 pre-dinner activities in the arena, or with the dinner please let Brandy know!!

Heart-warming Family Sharing

By the Almonys
Blessed By Generous Givers!
SSTM has a lot of individuals & organizations
to thank this month for donations!

Holiday givers from Student/Volunteer request letters.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Shining Stars Holiday letter fund raiser. So far we have received over $2000.00 to help offset the cost of feeding our horses during the winter months.

Sweet Charities
This amazing group of women (all volunteers) have raised over 2 million dollars for non-profits in our community in just 16 years!
Shining Stars is honored to have received $7500.00
toward the purchase of brand new saddles for our 2019 riding season.
Thank you Sweet Charities!

Legacy Givers
Thank you to everyone who has donated to the "Leaving a Legacy" farm fund. With your help we have raised over $12,000.00 with more pledges on the way!

Adams County Community Foundation
This year's Giving Spree event blessed us with $5339.88! THANKS SO MUCH to all who generously gave to Shining Stars! We are so grateful for folks like you!

The Gettysburg Riding Club
In spite of 2018's wet rainy weather, which wrecked the GRC's schedule for horse shows, they upheld their generous end-of-year giving status for Shining Stars! We were humbled to receive a check for $1000.00! We love the hearts of the members of the GRC, and know they will, in turn be blessed by their faithfulness to SSTM!
Gettysburg Riding Club members & friends
recently gathered at O'Rourke's
for a Christmas party and check presentation.
Due December 19!!
Be a Friend and Send Amigo to College!!!
By Rachel Stoner, SSTM Instructor

2019 Capital Campaign

Shining Stars Therapeutic Riding Program (SSTR) is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a mission to provide a means of therapy using horses to help people with disabilities.

SSTR recently celebrated its 14th year in equine therapy. We currently have over 200 participants, 207 volunteers and 16 horses.

Our programs include:
•  Therapeutic Riding
•   Cart driving for students and seniors unable to get on the back of a horse
•   Summer Horse Camps for foster kids and single parent families
•  Saturday Night Respite (care givers get a 2 hour break while we enjoy the kids)
•   Stars & Stripes veterans’ program……and more.
Many people are familiar with the indoor Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC) located on York Rd in Gettysburg, but are not aware that the horses cannot be housed there because of zoning regulations. Our horses live on a farm 6 miles from the TLC and are hauled to classes each day. The farm has a 13 stall barn, 4 separate fields, a run-in shed, an outdoor arena, and a house for the stable manager/director to live in plus rooms for offices. This is where we hold Summer Horse Camps, training, cart lessons, and Equine Biology classes.

The current owners are planning to retire soon and must sell the farm, giving SSTR first option to buy. The purchase of this farm will give us a permanent home for our horses and the ability to continue the additional programs mentioned for generations to come.
In order to acquire such a purchase SSTR is looking for “Legacy Givers”. Individuals willing to sow into our special needs community to assure these therapies will be available to them in the future.

 Each Legacy Giver would donate $1200.00 and will have a plaque placed in the TLC to commemorate their part in making this mission possible and to keep their legacy alive!

Please consider the importance of becoming a "Legacy Giver" to bless others!
Go to our website link for detailed information on how you can do this:                             

Looking Ahead to 2019

Spring TR Classes ........March 11- May 10
Rider Registration begins Jan. 1, 2019

Summer TR Classes......June 10- Aug 2
Rider Registration begins April 29, 2019

Fall TR Classes..............Sept 11- Nov 15
Rider Registration begins July 22, 2019
Volunteer Trainings
Held at indoor arena, 3185 York Rd, Gettysburg
February 5, 2019...6pm-8pm
February 13, 2019...6pm-8pm

Horse Camp... August 5-9  

FOR CLASSES or HORSE CAMP GET REGISTRATION FORMS at or call  717-398-8327     
click here to see our past newsletters!


Brandy Crago, Executive Director  

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 SHINING STARS Therapeutic Learning Center/Indoor Arena is located at
 3185 York Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325

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Shining Stars Therapeutic Ministries · 3185 York Road, Gettysburg, PA, United States · Gettysburg, PA 17325 · USA

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