Kiwanis Club keeps kids in the saddle - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Kiwanis Club keeps kids in the saddle

September 8, 2003

Albany - No matter how tight the money is, we'll keep the program going. That's what volunteers at the Southwest Georgia Therapeutic Riding Center promise. The center allows child and adults with mental and physical disabilities to ride horses. Monday, the Riding Center received a much needed donation from the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club.

It's physical therapy minus the doctor's office. And, children and adults love it. "When they're on a horse, they don't realize they're getting therapy," said Gretchen Gay. "Riding teaches hand-eye coordination and flexibility."

Dozens of volunteers run the Southwest Georgia Therapeutic Riding Center, but volunteer coordinator Gretchen Gay says cost are still high. "It cost about $3,400 dollars a year per horse and with 15 horses, the budget is over $50,000 a year."

Monday, the Riding Center got some help with those cost. The Dougherty County Kiwanis club donated about $6,500 to the club - proceeds from the organization's charity golf tournament.

"We chose the Riding Center because they help children have a better life," said Club Member Ben Lockett. "They're good people who truly help our community."

"This is the largest donation we've ever received from a group. It's wonderful," said Gay. And, the money is already almost spent. "We plan to buy helmets and riding clothes for the children. We are also taking some people to a state horse show."

The smiling faces of kids at Honey Pots stables are made possible by the kind hearts of Kiwanis Club members.

The Therapeutic Riding Center is also holding a fundraising on October 10th at 7pm. You can enjoy a low country boil, a auction-derby race, and a night of music. Tickets are $25. You can also buy a table from 6 for $150 or a table for 8 for $200. For tickets call 883-7002.