Cindy Hiner was born October 26, 1953 in a very small rural community
in eastern Colorado where her family ran a dry land farming and cattle operation. In her early teen years
her family moved to the mountains in Canon City, Colorado where her step father opened an outfitters company. They took hunters
on horseback in to the high country of Colorado during hunting season where they packed tents and food on pack horses up to
the timber line and set up camp. The trips they took we were packed in for a week to two and sometimes longer if the snow
got too deep. Cindy says “I can remember my mother always packed a small birthday cake in the food box.
I spent my Birthday up in the high country on horseback in the most beautiful country in the world.”
The high School that Cindy attended had a high school rodeo
club. That was her first experience in barrel racing and pole bending. She loved it. Cindy became Fremont
county rodeo queen in 1969. Cindy was active in rodeo for the next four years of high school. She enjoyed competing in team
penning when she grew older.
High school Cindy married and had three children. Her children were very involved with 4-H and they raised and showed Hogs,
Sheep and Dogs. It was because of raising dogs in 4-H that the family became involved with being puppy raisers for guide dogs
out of Colorado Deaf Blind School In Colorado Springs Colorado. Cindy said “We would raise the puppies
for one year then they would return to the school for advanced training to become a guide dog.” In
March of 1995 Cindy completed the Professional Dog grooming course From Beaugay’s School of Dog Grooming in Los Altos
In 1998 Cindy was employed
in the swine industry for Newsham Hybrids. Cindy worked in a 5,000 head sow unit and later was a farm manager
for an offsite nursery. She then went into the Genetic side of Data entry. After 8 years with Newsham hybrids
they closed and sold all breeding stock.
Cindy and her husband Rocky moved to Dalhart in 2004 where he was employed by
Premium Standard Farms. Cindy recalls “I starting volunteering for a local dog shelter in Dalhart
called D.A.W.G.S. and over the next couple years I was very involved with caring, training, grooming, and finding homes for
Cindy’s eyes sparkle
when she remembers how “in 2006 a very special little boy came to live with us, our grandson Caleb, with all of Caleb’s
special needs I started devoting all my time to this very special little boy.” Cindy met Carl Bailey,
founder of OAT, when he came by their home and told them of the dream he had for a therapeutic riding center for the disabled.
He told Cindy about his little horse “Red” and a little girl named Destiny and how her uncle and father would
bring her over to his place to ride. The doctors had said that the riding would help her. Carl also shared
his dream of having a center for all the children and adults in our area. Carl meet Caleb that day and Cindy recalls “I
could see it in Carl’s eyes that this truly was a calling from god for Carl to do this.” That
was the day we became involved with Carl’s dream that later became Open Arms Therapy. Cindy is also
proud to say “I’m a Mother of 3 and a stepmother of 3 with 27 beautiful grandchildren.”
In addition to caring for Caleb as his primary care-giver; Cindy also
serves on the Open Arms Therapy Board of Directors where she acts as a Client Advocate helping to find funding for each disabled
adult or child from local, state and government organizations. It was Cindy who found that Region 16 would
help fund the visually impaired who are currently enrolled in the area schools. Cindy also serves as a
volunteer during the riding sessions where she either handles the horses or acts as side-walker for a child. Cindy’s
horse “Biscuit” was donated by Larry McEvers to Caleb and the program and Cindy continues to work with Biscuit
teaching him and helping him become a full-time therapy horse. Open Arms Therapy is very thankful
for Cindy and all that she does for the program. She has her hands full and yet always wears a smile!