El Dusberry Educational Video

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Beloved JJ Goes Into Retirement

Dear Friends,

Our beloved horse, JJ , is somewhere around 33 years old. He has been a wonderful and reliable therapy horse for 6 years. He always seems to know when someone is in need of gentle connection and affection- he always was calm and patient with anyone who rode him, whether an adult or child with cancer or a fragile child…or someone just learning how to ride or relate to horses.

JJ has had a few big jobs in his life- he was a stud horse for a while, and then a western pleasure champion. He was donated to us after his show career and came with very sore feet, hips and back. After a period of time, his feet became stronger and then he really carried a great deal of our program, literally and figuratively on his strong back for years.

Now, JJ is ready to retire – he is arthritic and in need of spending his remaining days in peace and quiet, as a horse not being asked to do anything else but be a horse, in a green pasture.

We are reaching out to you, our community, to please help us with the “JJ Retirement Fund”. We need $2,500 in order to bring JJ to a pasture where he will be taken care of and given the retirement he deserves.

Any donations are greatly appreciated.

You can mail a check to : El Dustberry/ JJ Retirement Fund

4644 Longridge Ave

Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Or you can pay online: Go to www.eldustberry.org and click on “Support El Dustberry." Just type in “JJ” in the comment section. We will email you confirmation of your donation.

Thank you for your support.

With love,

Robin and the Staff of El Dustberry, and of course, JJ.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Broadway Gymnastic School Gift Certificate

In order to raise funds for our horses, we will be auctioning off this gift certificate for the Broadway Gymnastic School in Playa Vista, CA. Go to broadwaygym.com for more info. If you are interested in making a bid please email Robin at Robin@Eldustberry.com or call (818) 995-0277. El Dustberry will graciously consider any offer. Thank you!

Erika's Letter

Dear Robin,

Please feel free to share that El Dustberry has really been a source a comfort and support throughout my cancer journey. The ability to be myself without expectations has been a gift that your ranch has given me. All of your wonderful staff, the horses and you have been not only a constant source of comfort and support but also a nurturing force that has sustain me and continues to sustain me during my journey through cancer. The diagnosis of Breast Cancer in early January of this year has had a devastating and huge impact in my life. Many times I have felt alone, discouraged and ready to give up. I am so greatful that I was able to connect with Wespark and then with your program. My experience at the ranch has been a nurturing one that continues to nurture my soul.

Saying thank you is not enough. Words are not enough.

Erika Pappas

October 8, 2008

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sherri's Post

Anyone encountering crisis and/or serious illness such as cancer, knows that it strips you to the core; leaving one lost, scared and in search of wholeness and whole self again.

Through their non verbal communication and unique personalities, the horses challenge you repeatedly to forego self – denial in favor of self – honesty. They demand that you step into the present to face the truths that reflect back to you. In turn they become that “safe place to fall and build trust”.

With them I have laughed deeply again, cried, danced, rolled in the dirt, faced some fears, opened my heart up more, breathed deeper, and come alive through my re – awakened senses. In doing so, I’ve been filling in my blanks with powerful intention to keep alive and living fully too.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Message from Beverly

I am too old to twitter, facebook or blog! I eat prunes for breakfast for goodness sake! Anyway, just wanted to tell you that after spending an hour at El Dustberry when I was getting off Stanley, the Rolls Royce of horses, I said to Cheyenne that this was the first time in over a month that I hadn't thought about Mark and our break up. I almost shocked myself that I could possibly spend any time at all not thinking about him. It was as if by magic, through the miracle of the horses and the time I spent riding Stanley, I passed a full hour without any thoughts except for how happy I felt. Robin, thank you so much. You are an angel.

xoxoxo Bev

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recent Pics

Beautiful Hannah, her mom and Cheyenne in a session.

Happy Robin during a scout program.

Love Letter from Elizabeth

May you be abundantly blessed for the good you are doing for cancer survivors like myself who profit so much with the help of your horses-equine therapy works!

Just looking forward to being able to touch and relate to the horses is a blessing to my immune system! Then, touching them, interacting with them, being nurtured by them is ecstatic! You are to be commended for your great work. The medical world should know of the astonishing contribution you are making to the healing of cancer (and healing in general) through the connection with your horses. Thank all of you for doing this!


Sherman Oaks, California

Cancer survivor, 77 years old

Elizabeth giving Rocky some love. (Rocky went back to the Boy Scout’s herd and now works at Camp Whitsett)

Elizabeth on JJ, back at the Topanga Ranch before we moved to Josepho.

Monday, June 8, 2009



(A Pilot Program)

El Dustberry, 3000 Rustic Canyon, Pacific Palisades, CA. 818-995-0277

If your child is in need of:

-Academic enrichment

-Alternative learning

-Effective social interaction

This camp is for him or her!

Out Of The Box Adventure Day Camp is dedicated to RAISING THE BAR TO ACHIEVE and SUCCEED!

Out Of The Box Adventure Day Camp is located at El Dustberry Ranch in Pacific Palisades. Out Of The Box Adventure Day Camp is a unique camping experience for children between 4th and 12th grade. Your child will have bonding experiences and our unique hands-on staff will help to facilitate positive social interactions that can lead to a lifetime of friendships. Your child’s unique qualities are appreciated here and will be enhanced by our “Out Of The Box” teaching curriculum. Our goal is for your child to feel needed and important, and to recognize the tremendous difference he or she can make in the world.

The Out Of The Box Adventure Day Camp experience integrates academics with summer fun activities motivating your child to learn:

* 3 hours of daily non-classroom academic and Out Of The Box creative instruction

*Enrichment of reading and writing and other skills

* Participating in training and caring for rescue horses and therapy dogs

* Instruction in basic skills in gentle and natural horsemanship

* Equine Therapy

* Engaging in effective socialization, cooperative learning activities emphasizing

positive leadership, teamwork and making smart choices

* Swimming

* Multi-sensory, environmental arts and crafts activities

* Projects to create social awareness and actively support the community and world

* Connecting the curriculum to the learning experience

* Enrollment limited to 20 campers per session

* 3:1 Camper to Adult Ratio with a Limit of 20 Campers

High School Students Receive Community Service Credit.

Campers: 4th– 12 Grade

Times: Mon. – Thurs.: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (After care to 4 p.m. at $5/day)

Dates: Session 1: June 15 - June 25

Session 2: June 29 - July 9

Session 3: July 20 – July 30

Session 4: August 3 – August 13

Session 5: August 17 - August 28

Cost: $400 per week

Location: 3000 Rustic Canyon, Pacific Palisades, CA

Robin Rapaport and Starr Taxman are creating a pilot camping program called Out Of The Box Adventure Day Camp. Its purpose is to empower children to feel important, to know they have much to contribute to themselves, their families, society and the world. We can help the “Out Of The Box” child to decrease gaps in learning. Those with such gaps in their knowledge are labeled “lazy” or “underachievers” leading to low self-esteem and behavioral problems, causing difficulties for family and society. Our devotion to children’s well being and success has led us to share our experience,knowledge and creativity to help children who require a different teaching approach. Our goal is for your child to truly enjoy and benefit from our confidence-building environment provided by our amazing staff of caring, talented and insightful professionals. The Out Of The Box Adventure Day Camp children will be more motivated to learn, increasing their desire to improve their socialization skills.

Robin Rapaport is the founder and CEO of El Dustberry. Robin holds a B.A. in Education from U.C.L.A. and received her teaching credentials from Cal State L.A. She holds a Bilingual Cross-Cultural California teaching credential and is a teacher with twenty years experience in public and private classrooms. Robin's love of and experience with children, horses, the outdoors, teaching and curriculum development inspired her to create El Dustberry as an Equine Assisted Therapy Program and an Outdoor Classroom. Robin shares her life passions and experiences by promoting healing and hands-on learning through work with horses and experiential activities in a natural setting.

Starr Taxman holds a B.S.B.A. from Indiana University and an M.B.A. from USC. She is a mother of three. Two of her children are twice exceptional learners. Starr has spent the past 11 years researching alternative methods of education for children who are “Out Of The Box” and whose motivation to learn is injeopardy. Starr believes many children’s minds and bodies have difficulty “being still” in this age of technology. Her primary life’s work has been committed to helping children find peace and a sense of well-being.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stanley's Story

The first picture is Stanley when he arrived in January 2008. The second photo was taken in September 2008.  Stanley is a thoroughbred and was a race horse. After his career ended,  he was rescued from slaughter by his new owner, where he was eventually brought to pasture. Then Cheyenne (our equine manager) found him, and under her loving care Stanley has become a wonderful therapy and riding horse. One of our client's refer to him as the "Rolls Royce" of horses. He is very gentle and sensitive, and many of our ranch guests love him very much.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Horse Pics 2

Rusty and Bowie hanging out together again.

New Horse Pictures

Bowie is pictured on the top right.
Pictured below are Bowie (right) and Rusty (left).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Horses

We have seven beautiful rescue horses at El Dustberry, each with their own story. For example, Rusty and Bowie came from Michael Jackson's "Neverland Ranch." Rusty arrived with trust issues, being frightened of anything being fastened around his belly. Both horses are gentle, sensitive, and responsive to all of our clients. They seem to know that they are carrying precious cargo. Pictured above are Nate and Bowie.