WindWalkers: therapy in a saddle |

WindWalkers: therapy in a saddle

With three horses on site, WindWalkers provides people of all ages and disabilities the opportunity to experience a variety of equine therapies. These therapies are proven to generate more rapid and effective physical, behavioral and emotional growth through increased neurological stimulation. Therapeutic riding addresses a significant variety of conditions and compliments other learning tools and therapies.

WindWalkers serves children, youth, adults, and families that are facing physical, emotional, behavioral, and social development challenges. The organization offers a prevention program, intervention programs, and volunteer program to benefit more than 6,600 physically disabled people residing in Garfield County and more than 2,000 in Pitkin County (according to the 2000 U.S. Census).

While most therapeutic riding centers around the country use a medical model, in which the patient is only treated in 40-minute sessions, WindWalkers is a comprehensive, family-centered program that addresses the needs of the whole person and his or her family.

There are two upcoming fund-raisers are on the agenda. A wine tasting fund-raiser at Cedar Ridge Ranch is scheduled for September, with the specific date to be announced. And there will be a Family Fun Festival at Cedar Ridge Ranch on Oct. 1. The festival will benefit WindWalkers and Colorado Animal Rescue.

The program is in need of capital costs, as well as sponsors for some clients.

To contribute: For horse and tack donations, contact Sarah Newton-Cromwell; for client referral and other donations, contact Jay Swan; and for volunteering in the arena or in committees, contact Donna Matsuda.

WindWalkers is a Colorado Nonprofit Corporation awaiting federal tax exempt 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. This status allows the organization to receive program donations at this time, which will become tax deductible upon receipt of the IRS approval.

Sopris Therapy Services, the valley’s original equine assisted therapy center, continues to offer a full complement of equine-assisted programs at Aspen Equestrian, adjacent to the Catherine Store in Carbondale. Operating continuously since 1994, Sopris Therapy is a registered nonprofit addressing the daily needs of challenged children and adults throughout the valley. Sopris Therapy is a member of the Garfield County Human Services Commission. For more information, contact Executive Director Patricia Horwitz at 963-4677.

Another equine therapy program is affiliated with the Emily Griffith Center, outside Rifle. It is a residential treatment center for boys. To contact the center, call 625-4446.

Kay Vasilakis is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. She can be reached at 945-8515, ext. 513 or e-mail

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