A springtime Sunday dinner with some special horses will take place on April 29 at the Turning Point Ranch in Stillwater. Turning Point Ranch Therapeutic Riding is celebrating its second annual fundraiser with a chicken dinner, auction and riding demonstrations from noon to 2 p.m. at the Wes Watkins Center on the OSU campus.
The event will feature an array of live and silent auction items plus opportunities for pictures with OSU’s Spirit Horse, Bullet.
Proceeds from the event will be used to provide therapeutic horsemanship for children and adults facing physical, mental and emotional challenges in Payne County. Riders from ages 3 to 25, assisted by volunteer leaders and sidewalkers, participate in weekly sessions at Turning Point. The experience helps them to gain riding skills, improve balance and muscle control, broaden social and verbal skills and to provide them a challenge to meet higher and higher goals.
Among the things Last year’s fundraiser provided is a mobile mounting ramp that helps riders get on their horses in a way that’s safer and easier on the horse’s backs. Turning Point also purchased a set of folding bleachers so parents and other observers can cheer and for the riders to have a safe place to wait before mounting.
The program has added a wireless sound system to help students hear and focus on directions. Board members have participated in several workdays to renovate the Turning Point tack and game rooms.
An American Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant restroom has been added to the activity area and the program has supported six individuals in training to become certified through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship.
“We have waiting lists for all our sessions and we were able to take 18 riders to Oklahoma Equestrian Special Olympics for the first time,” says Board President Dee Miller. “Our riders blew everyone away. They performed horsemanship skills from trail to showmanship that no one expected and came away with nearly 30 medals.”
Another big benefit of last year’s fundraiser was the “auction” for the care of three therapy horses, Bucky, Chiquita, Snick and Tolly. This year, Bucky, Chiquita and Snick will return to demonstrate elements of therapeutic riding and they will be joined by Buck and George.
“With hay prices this year, and the fact that our horses are getting older, the support from last year’s fundraiser made a huge difference in our ability to operate and keep our herd healthy. We’ve been able to add a few horses on long term loan that lets us rotate horses for sessions now,” said Miller. “Without the community support of from our volunteers and donations from those who attend our fundraiser, we wouldn’t be able to provide this amazing service. We say we see miracles every session when a rider remembers a challenging reining move or correctly names a part of a horse or giggles at making a basket. Our parents and teachers see amazing progress and believe our horses are difference makers.”
Auction items for this year’s fundraiser include a Spa Weekend at the Canebrake, a Wyoming Lodge Vacation, a Weeden-Blackmon signed football, handcrafted furniture and many more unique listings. Guests will be treated to demonstrations by the Turning Point horses and riders and OSU’s Bullet will be on hand for pictures.
Tickets are $15 per person in advance for the Chicken Dinner catered by Freddie Pauls or $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at any BancFirst location, Stillwater National Bank downtown, Stillwater Milling, Alan’s Pharmacy or The Territory or by e-mailing [email protected]
Other therapeutic riding centers in Oklahoma include Coffee Creek Riding Center, located just North of Edmond; Coyote Ridge Riding Center, in Claremore; TLC Horse Therapy, located in Eufaula; Sunnyside Riding Center located just north west of Clinton; American Therapeutic Riding Center in Sand Springs; Sunset Therapeutic Riding Center located in Yukon; Stateline Riding Center in Alva; Bluestem Therapeutic Horseback Riding in Bartlesville; Bit By Bit Rogers State University, in Claremore.
Also, the Right Path Riding Academy in Drumright: Critter Creek TRC in Lawton; Charham Therapeutic Arena in Shawnee; and The Sky’s the Limit Ranch in Oklahoma City.
Turning Point Ranch, a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, is dedicated to enriching the lives of people facing physical, mental or emotional challenges through therapeutic horsemanship. For more information visit turningpointriding.org.