Hope Equestrian Center adding horse arena
For the first time in its nearly 25-year history, Hope Equestrian Center is going to have its own horse arena.
Operating in a number of different locations since it was formed in 1988, Hope is a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding to special-needs individuals throughout Southern Oregon, especially children, but also at-risk-youth and wounded veterans.
Over the years, Hope Equestrian has had to use borrowed arenas, which meant working around other arena schedules. But now, TLM Training Center on Riley Road in Eagle Point, where Hope is located, has given the OK for Hope to build its own 60-by-85-foot horse arena with a covered grooming area and a 10-by-48-foot covered spectator seating area.
"This is something we always wanted," said Angie Ballard, Hope's executive director. "I can't say enough thanks to TLM. We started there about three years ago, and everyone has been so great and so welcoming. It's kind of like a family."
The project began about a year ago, when Ballard submitted a grant request to Northwest Farm Credit Services, a financial services cooperative that provides grants to improve rural communities and organizations.
"It was $1,500," Ballard said, "and it started the ball rolling. It's been so neat to see the community support we got. We definitely couldn't have done it without all of the help we've received."
Equestrian therapy is valuable in a variety of ways, Ballard said.
"Equestrian therapy helps everyone in so many different ways," she said. "The core muscles of a person with cerebral palsy will be strengthened. "… An at-risk youth may not be receiving the love and affection they need at home and may, for the first time, bond with another living being and learn discipline by working as a team with a horse."
Horse riding has helped autistic children also, she said.
"Sometimes we'll have kids who have never said a word, and suddenly they'll start saying things on a horse, or mumble things, or try to say words they never said before."
About four years ago, Hope volunteers began working with wounded veterans.
"I'll never forget one of our first veterans," she said. "He was an alcoholic and suffered from severe depression. After riding for a while, he wanted to speak to our group, but because he was too shy, he had to write out this statement: 'I used to be an alcoholic, and I used to be so depressed that I didn't even want to wake up each day. Equine therapy made me quit drinking and gave me something to look forward to, and it pulled me out of my depression.'
"All of this work is so gratifying," Ballard said.
On Saturday, Pacific Wall and Truss in Central Point was scheduled to deliver the truss system for the arena's roof.
"The trusses we're providing are the biggest trusses we've ever done," said Nancy Mansfield, a part owner of the company.
Until Ballard and Mansfield got together, Ballard was having trouble finding a firm to do the job.
"Angie was calling around a lot to get quotes and, although we're not able to donate the trusses, when she called us, we were able to give her a very, very fair price."
Beyond constructing and delivering the trusses, Mansfield said she decided to help Hope with publicity.
"I'm a horse person, and that's why I wanted to help," she said. "It's not about our company; it's about helping them. They don't have any background in PR or how to get the word out.
"I just hope others will help them, too. They really do need donations, and I just want to say, hey, these guys exist, they do great work, and they need money and they need support."
"We really need volunteers," Ballard said. "Those are the people who come out each week and help with our sessions by leading horses, side walking with riders, and grooming horses and tack.
"With the new arena we'll be working five days a week instead of three. We're definitely going to need more people to help."
The arena won't be completely finished until the end of summer, but Ballard said the group plans to start using it within a couple of weeks.
For information, or to donate or volunteer, visit hopeequestrian.com or call 541-776-0878 .
Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Mail Tribune
Riding Fear Free
Horse Racing Capsules: 111-1 longshot Hero of Order wins Louisiana Derby
In UAE, horses are big business as well as passion
Horse Meat in Burgers in UK stores
Ten Minute Trick- Making your horse enjoy leaving home
Animals in The Hobbit suffer for the film