There's something about the outside of a horse that's good for the inside of a person, as the variously attributed saying goes. A visit to Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center in Brewster goes a long way to proving exactly that. The mission of Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center is to enrich the lives of children and adults on Cape Cod with special needs through individualized equine assisted activities and therapies.
On Thursday, Aug. 17, an art auction at Chatham Bars Inn will provide an opportunity to support the riding center's mission by bidding on original works of art in all media and price ranges. The $25 admission includes hors d'oeuvres, desserts and beverages in Chatham Bars Inn's beautiful surroundings.
What exactly is therapeutic riding? Therapeutic riding empowers differently abled individuals of all ages to learn horseback riding skills. Since the horse's walking gait is similar to that of a walking human, the experience of riding provides opportunities for development of balance and core strength. The abundant sensory input surrounding riding students helps them to become engaged and available for learning, while working with their instructor, attentive volunteers and their equine friends helps advance social, emotional and educational goals in a highly motivating environment. According to PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) horses have been shown to be effective tools with youth, as their stature commands respect and their gentle nature promotes empathy. Equine-assisted activities help to instill a sense of order, create an understanding of boundaries, improve focus and instill trust.
Program director Liz Harris Adams hopes that the art auction benefit will become an annual fundraising event for the riding center.
“We are grateful to Chatham Bars Inn and their commitment to the local community through their CBI Cares initiative,” Adams said. “As a relatively young nonprofit, the key to our sustainability at Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center is keeping the costs affordable for people in need. An important quality in a therapeutic program horse is a calm, quiet nature, and as a result we have a few program horses over 30 years of age. Older horses require a bit more attention to their diet and care, and so we have to make sure we are able to provide them with the excellent care they deserve while they perform their important job for individuals with special needs in our community.”
Adams thanked Devil's Purse Brewery, the official beer sponsor of CBI Cares, for providing beverages for the art auction event, as well as all those who have donated goods and services for the auction.
“In addition to beautiful works of art, we also have some wonderful local experiences to bid on, including a personally catered lobster dinner for 10, a Cape Cod equestrian package, a spa package, a sunset cruise, and many other great auction items to enjoy while supporting Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center's Mission,” Adams said.
To emphasize the value of therapeutic riding, Adams recalled her experiences teaching a young woman with cerebral palsy along with several other disabilities, and the clear benefit she derived from her time in the saddle.
“This young woman uses a wheelchair and she doesn't speak,” Adams explained. “She is very smart, and yet she is not able to express herself in words the way we can. When she is in the saddle, she sits tall. She sits independently, and the smile that radiates from her face is incredible. Pure joy. Our riders get a sense of accomplishment. They become capable, and with that they become joyful.”
The event will be held at Chatham Bars Inn at 297 Shore Rd. in Chatham on Thursday evening, Aug. 17, and will include an auction of original artwork and other packages to support Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center. Auction preview begins at 6, and the auction begins at 7 p.m. All major credit cards are accepted. For more information, call Liz Harris Adams at 508-896-0064 or visit www.emeraldhollow.org.