Stillwater News Press

Local News

April 20, 2013

Therapeutic horse riding fundraiser slated for April 28

STILLWATER, Okla. — A therapeutic horse riding organization is hoping Stillwater will turn out and support them again as they prepare for their annual fundraiser.

Turning Point Ranch will host its fundraiser April 28 at the Wes Watkins Center.

“Yes, there will be horses underneath those chandeliers,” said Mentor Natalea Watkins. “We will be bringing horses to demonstrate therapeutic riding, so people can bid on the care of those specific horses next year.”

The event, from 12:30-2:30 p.m., will feature catering by Freddie Paul’s Steakhouse. This is the third-annual fundraiser.

Live and silent auctions will take place featuring items from frosted cookies and a spa weekend at Cane Brake Spa to art and handcrafted items from artists in the community, Watkins said.

She said last year’s event raised more than $30,000, enabling the organization to increase staffing, take on more riders and purchase a sprinkler system for the riding arena.

“The fundraiser enables us to add horses,” Watkins said. “We’re up to 10 horses now. I think when we had our first fundraiser, we were up to five. And you need that many to rotate. We’ve increased the number of riders this year.”

Watkins said in the last year, the group has provided 900 combined hours of therapeutic riding and 75,000 volunteer hours.

“We serve riders with emotional, physical or mental challenges,” Watkins said. “I would say about 60 percent of our children and I’m saying children up to (age) 18, fall somewhere on the autism spectrum and then we probably have another percentage that are Down’s syndrome.”

A number of children helped through a program have a variety of disabilities. Watkins said volunteers and staff work with the children to develop good social, verbal and learning skills.

Tickets to the event are $15 in advance. For more information, call 269-2225 or visit www.turningpointriding.org.

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