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Kristen McGraw

Felipe and Kristen

My sister, brother and I began taking riding lessons when I was 10 years old. I have owned and free leased horses and taken lessons on and off. In order to raise a family of three daughters, I took time off from the horses, but never lost my love for them. In 1996 I began volunteering at a therapeutic riding center with my middle daughter, Erin, to share a common interest, spend time together and have the opportunity to be around horses again.

I volunteered by helping in the barn and walking in lessons and was very moved by the "magical" things I saw happen between the horse and rider. Children that would never consider hugging another human being, would love spending time hugging and petting the horse that was theirs for 1 hour a week. I decided I wanted to be a therapeutic riding instructor and make a difference in the life of those with disabilities by partnering with the power of horses. I began working for UpReach in 2001.

As a therapeutic riding instructor I received a call from a nursing home wondering if our center could bring a horse or pony to their facility to visit with the residents. At the time that was not a service we were able to provide, so I decided I would like to get my own pony and Personal Ponies seemed like a perfect fit for what my intentions were. I was matched with a wonderful pony, Erin’s Felipe of Snowdown. How funny that I had gotten back into horses because of my daughter Erin and now I had a pony with her name!

Felipe and I became Registered Pet Partner with the Delta Society in May of 2003, scoring a perfect 100! We visited Crotched Mountain Rehab, nursing homes Manchester Public Schools, Center Woods Elementary School and walked in several parades.

Felipe was aging, so I decided I would like another pony to take over for Felipe when I felt it was time for him to retire. That was when I met Prince Darcy. Prince Darcy, fondly known as Darcy, is an amazingly compassionate, gentle, intuitive, and kind. Darcy and I have been together since he was nine months old. At age 4, Darcy became a certified Pet Partner and began visiting with folks at a variety of nursing homes. This is when I decided to retire Felipe, who crossed the rainbow bridge just two years later.

Felipe, Kristen and Alyssa-Christmas Parade

Darcy picked up where Felipe left off. Darcy attends various events throughout the year. Darcy is the highlight of the Best Buddy Walk in Concord as well as the Strawberry Festival in Bow. He has also led the parade on the field prior to a Fisher Cat game. Darcy also had the pleasure of providing activities for residents that were not able to go outside for the Hoe Down event held at their nursing home. Darcy and I are delighted to have the help of Susan Higgins when we visit in the community and at events. She helps answer all the questions, assists with grooming, and makes it an overall safe experience for everyone.

Darcy also donates his time to UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center by participating in a variety of programs. He travels with his friend Vader to Crotched Mountain May-October two afternoons a week to provide therapeutic horse experiences. He also participates in the UpReach equine facilitated mental health and equine assisted learning programs. Darcy is amazing!

If you would like to talk to Kristen about a visit you can reach Kristen by phone at:

(603) 965-6838

email Kristen at kristenscabin15@comcast.net or write to Kristen McGraw and Darcy at:

219 McCollum Rd
New Boston, NH 03070