Winter Wonderland at the Barn takes place Sunday, Dec. 12. (Special to The News)

Winter Wonderland at the Barn takes place Sunday, Dec. 12. (Special to The News)

Therapeutic riding association to hold Winter Wonderland Welcome

Event in support of programs for children and adults with physical, cognitive, emotional challenges

The North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association is holding a Winter Fundraiser to welcome people back and introduce them to the work the association is doing.

Winter Wonderland at the Barn is an open house to show people the facility and introduce them to the services provided by the association, after COVID-19 put a halt to much of its programming .

“Just an opportunity to get people back to our property and see that we are rebuilding the program now that we are able to be more active,” explained organizer Gay Conn with the riding association.

“We’re decorating the barn. There will be opportunities for pictures with Santa,” said Conn.

Guests will also have an opportunity to meet the horses, including Fjona and the newest horse to join their family, Fjord.

There will be a silent auction hosted by their therapy horses and the property will be decorated like a winter wonderland.

Pictures with Santa will be by donation.

The North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association is a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic equestrian activities for children and adults with physical, cognitive, and/or emotional challenges. The association was started by a local woman with two donkeys more than 50 years ago.

Although programs and activities were limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, under normal circumstance the association serves as many as 85 riders per week.

“Riding a horse gives something very powerful to a child or adult facing challenges. The feeling of achievement that comes from riding and maneuvering a horse is strong medicine. It turns defeat into victory and self-doubt in to self-confidence,” said Conn.

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“The unconditional love of a horse reduces anxiety, encourages interaction, and improves social skills. Horses are the true therapists in our program,” she added.

Money from the fundraiser will be going to caring for the horses and maintaining the property, which, Conn said, takes an army of people and is very expensive.

“Grants, donations,volunteers, and minimal lesson fees is what keeps us alive,” she remarked.

Conn noted that healthcare professionals are always searching for alternatives to traditional therapies for clients and they are always receiving medical referrals for people needing assistance.

“We want to be there for those people. We see miracles here every day.”

Winter Wonderland at the Barn takes place from 11-3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12, at North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association at 13345 Park Lane, Maple Ridge.

Tickets are $10 per adult and $5 per child. Reservations must be made ahead of time so organizers know how many people are on the property. Reservations can be made by emailing manager@nftra.ca by Dec. 8.


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