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$30k for therapy on horseback

SANTA FE, N.M. — I’ve always found horseback riding therapeutic … up in the saddle, on the top of a warm, sweet, magnificent animal, surrounded by fresh air and usually a wonderful view of nature. A canter or a gallop, and a sense of freedom and exhilaration – well, it clears the mind. For some Santa Feans, however, therapeutic riding means actual therapy. And there is an actual charity.

A golf tournament, a silent auction and a Santa Fe-style fashion show brought together 150 people on a balmy Monday afternoon recently at Quail Run in support of the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding.

First, 9½ foursomes played nine holes of golf, with a prize for every hole! After that, tempting cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with fun shopping in the terrace room. The silent auction saw spirited bidding on some highly desirable “stuff” – pretty jewelry, great-looking handbags, a featherweight golf bag, all SO useful!

Next, the ballroom was set up with elevated runways, just like fashion week in Paris, for the high-style fashion show featuring designs from Malouf on the Plaza to tempt both sexes, with local friends modeling, and everybody recognized Artichokes and Pomegranates’ Fred.

Avid devotees Don and Marilyn Miller told me about this amazing program years ago. It has grown, progressed and succeeded in its mission to improve the lives of developmentally challenged individuals through taking care of horses and riding them. All kinds of people benefit from their special relationship with horses: those with cerebral palsy and the autistic; stroke survivors; those with Down syndrome and the developmentally delayed. They also have programs for fun for senior citizens and some for kids with ADHD.

There is a program for the School for the Deaf, and the high schools send handicapped kids, those with behavioral problems and at-risk teens. It seems like a lot of folks can relate better to kindly horses than to difficult people and, really, who can blame them! These horses and instructors are PATH-certified, meaning they’ve met certain standards and guidelines, and fulfilled specialized training in the therapeutic horse riding field.

Jeanné Sei, who chaired the day, told me there are currently around 45 members in the program, among them her adult daughter, who is brain damaged. She said it gives all of them great joy to be able to ride and control the horse, and therefore feel a sense of control of something in their lives, where there is so much that they cannot control.

The event raised $30,000, which is pretty fabulous for an afternoon’s play. It is earmarked for ongoing operations, feed for the horses and supplies for the arena as they work toward finding a larger facility that could benefit even more people.

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

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