• Collierville's 'Southern Reins' honors volunteer of the year

    By: Lauren Coleman

    Updated:

    COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. - At least four days a week Brenda Heindl can be found at Southern Reins in Collierville. 

    “Help with barn chores, that’s feeding the horses, and cleaning stalls,” Heindl said. 

    Southern Reins provides Equine Therapy for individuals with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. 

    Heindl recently earned the honor as the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) Region 5 Volunteer of the Year. 

    The region consists of member centers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Puerto Rico and Africa. 


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    Heindl began her service in early 2018 as a side walker to support participants in therapeutic riding lessons. 

    “After working 35 years plus or minus with International Paper and retired from International Paper, I was looking for something to do that would give back to the community and I also enjoy being outside,” Heindl said. 

    Staff members told FOX13 Hiendl shows up to assist on holidays, including Christmas and Easter mornings. 

    “The staff are great to work with,” Heindl said. “The board members are often out working and helping. The horses, not a bad horse in the bunch. And then the ultimate is seeing the program participants and how they grow and can do more things they couldn’t do before they were able to ride horses.” 

    Heindl is just one of nearly 250 active volunteers at Southern Reins working with horses and ponies to help change lives one ride at a time.

    Executive director Jill Haag said Heindl has contributed thousands of hours of service and counting. 

    “People like her are really a part of our family and we’re just grateful to have the Brenda’s of the world here at Southern reins,” Haag said. 

    Saturday, May 4 Southern Reins will hold its fourth Annual Jockeys and Juleps Derby Party. 

    The event starts at 3 p.m. 

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