A Sea World trainer first inspired Kingman native Kassie Schuerr to work with animals. In her college years and early career, she worked with a range of exotic animals, from elephants to killer whales, taking jobs training cats on the “Batman Returns” movie set and guiding dolphins at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Now, Kassie uses that experience back in her hometown to inspire children and adults with horse therapy and riding lessons.
UniSource Energy Services is supporting her mission at Kingman Healing Hooves with financial and volunteer support. The organization aims to leverage equine therapy to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of low-income children and others with illnesses or disabilities.
On a recent June morning, UniSource volunteers helped improve the lives of 13 horses at the organization’s acre-and-a-half facility. A dozen UniSource employees and family members upgraded the fence, washed blankets and cleaned the pens, all while interacting with the horses.
The family-friendly activity was held in conjunction with the annual celebration by the Kingman Community Action Team (CAT), a group of employee volunteers dedicated to community service, said Samantha Caspe, UniSource Executive Assistant and a CAT Chair.
“This is a great local organization that supports local youth and special-needs residents,” Caspe said. “The kids really enjoyed interacting with the horses while helping out.”
In 2004, Schuerr moved back to her hometown to raise her family. Before that, on the recommendation of a Sea World trainer, Schuerr earned degrees in exotic animal training and wildlife education from Moorpark College in California. In Kingman, she trained horses for a few years before bringing her lessons and training to the community.
For nearly 10 years, UniSource has provided financial support to the organization, in alignment with UniSource’s commitment to education and social equity. The group works with individuals with a range of disabilities, including veterans and children on the autism spectrum.
“Mohave County is a low socio-economic county and there are not a lot of resources for our kids or for our veterans,” Scheurr said. “We rely on grants to bring our services to more people.”
UniSource contributions fund scholarships for lessons for special-needs children and adults, low-income families, community outreach programs, and food costs for the horses.
“We greatly appreciate the support, not only financially, but with the volunteers coming out,” Schuerr said. “As a volunteer-based organization trying to help our community, it’s nice to have a partner that we can count on every year.”