Centaur Stride expresses appreciation for community support

WESTFIELD – The Chautauqua Mall was the venue for the fourth annual Walk-a-thon to benefit Centaur Stride Therapeutic Riding Center on March 16.

Twenty-one families raised over $13,000 toward the annual care of the horses. That’s almost 1/3 of the goal.

Thank you for the kindness and generosity of these families and all who have supported this effort. Organizers are still accepting donations and you can donate to a rider’s ‘Healing with Horses’ walk-a-thon page by going to www.crowdrise.com/2014healingwithhorses (just click on the rider’s picture). Or you can send a check to Centaur Stride, PO Box 174, Westfield, NY 14787.

More than 150 people with disabilities benefit every year from programs offered at Centaur Stride. More programs are in development stages and will be launched this summer.

It costs about $300 to feed and care for a single horse for one month. Organizers have 16 therapy horses.

The grand prize, an Acer Aspire laptop Computer, value $367, was donated by DFT Communications and the Netsync Store, and was won by Brianna Bowen.

Fundraisers seem non-stop, but are crucial, along with donations, to help subsidize the rider fees to keep the price affordable for many. The actual value-cost per lesson varies from $37-168 depending on the rider’s needs and abilities (the high end requiring a therapist and two other helpers, the low end an independent rider). Riders are only charged a nominal fee of $20 regardless of level of ability, because of donations, grants, fundraisers and the wonderful volunteer help.

Located in Westfield, Centaur Stride has been providing programs to benefit people with disabilities in the region, both north and south county equally, enriching the lives of more than 150 children and adults of all ages with various disabilities. Additional programs have been developed to include non-disabled siblings, and friends and families.

Many riders have participated for many years, as there are very few activities they are able to enjoy, and even less that promote their physical and social well-being.

Centaur Stride Therapeutic Horseback Riding, a not-for-profit organization, has been providing an inclusive environment of recreational enrichment for persons with and without disabilities from its facilities since 1993. Visit our website at www.centaurstride.org for more information, or check out our video on YouTube/CentaurStride.

The benefits of therapeutic horseback riding expand across physical, cognitive, emotional and social domains. The joy experienced by family members just to see their child engaging in something that has been made safe and possible for them to do is monumental. The horses are gentle and very well trained. The programs are labor intensive and require many people to assist.