After nearly a year without a home, a southern Alberta charity has a new venue and a brand new name. The Millarville Therapeutic Riding Association has been renamed Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy, says president Jessica Williams, and the group is now looking for help in funding renovations to its new home at Okotoks’ historic Hebson Arena.
The registered charity had to temporarily shut down operations last March after costs became prohibitive at their old location, leaving their many handicapped children and adults without any access to horseback riding, an activity that had quickly become a vital part of their lives.
“We have eight horses in our program and we’ve already moved three of them to Hebson to get used to their new environment and to continue with their all-important training,” says Williams.
The Hebson Arena, owned by the Okokoks Agricultural Society, is an old building and in great shape but there are some things that need to be improved before lessons can begin. “We urgently need a new air exchange system to prevent mold developing in the insulation and to control the temperature, the washrooms need to be made wheel-chair accessible and an enclosed area is required to turn the bleachers into a room where parents and families of clients can watch them ride.” Williams estimates that the renovations will cost about $200,000 by the time they are completed.
“We’re really looking forward to being back in business and we can’t wait to see people relax and smile as they get to know their equine partner,” says Williams. “Parents frequently tell us that their children are stronger, more flexible and have improved balance after only a few sessions in the saddle.”
Prairie Sky can be reached at (403) 616-4731 or by email at Jessica@millarvilletherapeuticriding.ca