(LAS CRUCES) -- A program aimed at assisting disabled children is turning to the community for support in order to continue those services.
Vince Vaccaro is setting the stage at the Saratoga Room in Las Cruces.
“Kids are kind of the fundamental basis of our community and when kids have disabilities and need help and I use to own about ten horses myself and gave lessons there’s a little extra connection there and you can put the two together,” he said.
Vaccaro is working with leaders at the therapeutic riding program at New Mexico State University; helping to raise much needed funds to keep services running.
“It gives you the opportunity to help kids that cannot do this. In fact, a lot of people cannot do anything with horses. It’s a relatively expensive endeavor,” he said.
The riding program currently has 18 active clients and is the only one in Las Cruces certified with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International.
“It takes a real special horse, we have some amazing horses that put up with a lot. We have some riders that are really loud or some riders that pull on the horse or more round a lot and it takes a special horse for them to understand that they need to take care of their riders,” said Sarah Veeder, with the program.
Each ride is tailored to the client and their needs. It helps them focus on communication and social skills. Leaders say improving the program can only benefit each of the riders.
“Most of them are really good. Most of the kids really like the animals and those that are scared once they are up on the horse, they really enjoy it because a lot of them have disabilities, they’re in a wheel chair or they have a hard time with things, they get up on the horse and they finally get to control the horse so they find it so neat to be able to control an animal that is ten times their size,” she said.
The group plans to have a covered arena built within the next five years. This will provide clients more privacy and reduce the amount of time session are canceled due to bad weather.
A fundraiser to help support the program is taking place Saturday at the Saratoga Room in Las Cruces.
WHAT: The "Mane" Event
WHO: NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program
WHEN: Saturday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Saratoga Room at Lorenzo's restaurant, 1763 E. University Ave.
The New Mexico State University Therapeutic Riding Program is hosting a public benefit to raise money for its program.
The cost is $30 per person. A silent auction and raffle will be held during the event. Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. All proceeds will go toward the NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Therapeutic Riding Program at 575-646-2929. Tickets can also be obtained by calling Lorenzo's at 575-521-3505.