For the fifth year, the Creston and District Society for Community Living’s Therapeutic Riding Program (TRP) is hosting Art Trot, its annual fundraiser, running at the Creston and District Community Complex Friday and Saturday.
“It’s really become a big event,” said program director Michelle Whiteaway. “It gets us out into the community and we meet people when we’re not doing lessons.”
In its 10th season at the Endicott property on Erickson Road, the TRP runs spring through fall using horses as therapists for riders with mental, emotional and/or physical disabilities. Over 50 riders participate each season, with about 25 volunteers keeping lessons running smoothly.
Art Trot was the idea of Kerry Ross — whose wife, Christine, is a TRP instructor — who organizes it with a committee of Dawn Brazdil-Lust, Barb West, Melanie Folk, Anne Fetterly and Jane Thorburn.
It runs in the Sunshine Room 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, with an opening reception at 5 p.m. Friday featuring entertainment by CDSCL executive director Peter Feltham, and goodies from Overwaitea Foods, Extra Foods and Tim Hortons.
The fundraiser includes a silent auction with about 70 items, as well as books and other treasures, among them fireplace implements from the Prince Charles Secondary School metal shop. Also for sale will be what Whiteaway called “unbelievably beautiful” horseshoes by an Adam Robertson Elementary School Grade 5 class, now in its third year of donating, having started with clay horses in Grade 3. Single horseshoes will be $10, with others mounted on barn board fetching a higher price.
Also on the list of donation options is a “giving tree”, where people donate $20 for “random things”, including wine, gift certificates and chocolates.
Guests will also be able to see a special piece of equipment used by the TRP: the Equicizer, a non-mechanical horse named Amigo, which makes clients easier to assess, and gets them used to being on a horse before they try the real thing.
Last year’s Art Trot raised about $7,000 for the TRP, and Whiteaway hopes that this year’s will have a similar result. But as well as raising funds, Art Trot is also an opportunity to learn more about the program, with a video running and volunteers present throughout.
“When they see the video and pictures, it helps them understand what we do there,” said Whiteaway. “Everyone has different needs, challenges, wants and desires, and we tailor the program specifically for them.”