September 2016 Team Member Highlight: Asia Arellano

This protégé of the Red Bucket internship program has paved the way for other ambitious students to take the reins and help restore confidence in abused horses.


What better way to spend your senior year in high school than at Red Bucket? That’s exactly what Asia Arellano did as part of her high school senior project in 2014, and in doing so has forged her way in as a permanent part of our team.


“I researched many horse rescue groups for my senior project,” Asia explains. “When I found out about Red Bucket, I knew this was the perfect place for me to complete my project. “The Ranch the Horses Own” was kept so organized and well-run, thanks to the friendly and welcoming volunteers, which made Red Bucket stand out compared to the other rescues.”


Cathy Hessman can’t say enough about Asia: “She came to Red Bucket to complete a high school project, and I was her mentor. Her work ethic is AMAZING! She happily completed every task assigned to her from organizing the storage room to learning to groom horses. She did not have horse experience when she first came to Red Bucket, and now she works independently, grooming and caring for our horses. I was so impressed by how mature and responsible she was for her age; she is considerate, kind, competent, and just a pleasure to be around. Even though she graduated high school and now attends college, she still continues to care for our horses whenever her busy schedule allows her to. We are so happy and grateful that Asia is a member of the Red Bucket family!”


Asia currently works with Nadia Bridges, Jenon Mathes and Davana Valentino on most days, helping with turnouts, grooming, first aid, and any other responsibilities that may come her way. “I have learned so much about the horses’ behavior,” shares Asia, “as well as safely handling and working with horses. I am very grateful for the time my ‘second mom’, Jenon, spends teaching me new tips and tricks.”


According to Jenon, Asia is a quick study. “Asia is a remarkable young lady. She was referred to me by Cathy Hessman. She was presented to me as a young girl with a desire to help and a willingness to do anything to learn. I accepted her with a tremendous amount of reservation, but Cathy pushed, and Cathy was right!! This young lady is someone that I am grateful to have by my side any day I am at the Ranch serving our horses.”


“I can think of no other team member within our organization that has exhibited the amount of growth that Asia has, or that could surpass her achievements,” Jenon continues. “She went from a young girl with literally no horse experience to a valued and accomplished handler. During these last 2 years, Asia was not pushed to accomplish or achieve goals that were beyond her capability, but slowly, methodically and religiously applied every technique, listened to every instruction and wholeheartedly embraced the values, mission and standards of Red Bucket. She has the incredible energy of her youth and does not waste a second of her day. I watched her work diligently this past summer with Clementine, her project as an intern, and everyday progress was made. She has that ‘Quiet Calm’ that is valued so heavily with our handlers, and it has not let her down as she works to restore trust in Clementine, a mule that has expressed little interest in trusting anyone on two legs.”


On a typical day, Asia will handle her own groom list, attend to first aid, assist in turn outs, and buddy with new volunteers to help them acclimate. “She is always welcoming, extremely polite and supports any team member asking for her help,” Jenon explains. “She pays attention to detail and always does those little extras without being asked, such as clean a waterer or feeder, deliver a lunch bucket, wash brushes, tidy up the groom locker or wash rack. She is a model for what it means ‘To Serve’. Asia is now attending Colorado State University, and when she returns on her breaks, we will all rejoice!”


Working with Clementine has helped Asia understand the many layers of trust that must be built with each animal. “The rescue’s commitment to find horses a forever family, despite the past they have endured, and taking the time to find the perfect suitable home, truly resonates with me,” Asia shares. “I’ve learned a great deal from my project mule Clementine. She is such a willing and darling little girl who has improved immensely from the shy and isolated mule I met a few weeks ago. It took a while to build her trust, especially when working around her feet. She now enjoys being groomed and is such a lady when I clean her hooves and walk her to turn-outs.”


Susan Peirce finds Asia absolutely delightful! “Asia is a sweet, hard-working college student who always shows up at the Ranch during her breaks, and it’s as if she never left! She did an intern program with us last summer; her project was Clementine and she did a wonderful job of building confidence and trust with her! Asia has such a positive attitude and enthusiastic energy, and she is completely dedicated to our cause. She has flourished under the supervision of Jenon and has become a most reliable and trustworthy team member. We are honored to have her with us!”


As Asia has learned from Red Bucket, so do we all learn from her: we learn about hard work, dedication, and commitment. Thank you Asia for being a part of our team!