Riding in winter: horse therapy group about to open new building

Published: Mar. 21, 2017 at 2:18 PM AKDT
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It's therapy that helps children with physical and cognitive disabilities, but there's a big limitation; it only takes place in the summer.

Equine Assisted Therapy Alaska is about to change that. This Saturday, the group will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at a new indoor 120-by-75 foot riding facility at Ruth Arcand Park.

"It means we don't have to quit on rainy days and we can keep doing it in the winter" said Rebecca Widmer, Executive Director for EATA. "When you have someone with a heart condition or physical limitations, you don't want to put them on a horse when there's snow on the ground" she said.

Currently, EATA can only provide therapeutic riding programs for six to eight weeks in the summer, but the group says the new, heated facility will allow it to operate year-round.

EATA says it will also allow it to expand therapeutic riding programs for veterans who suffer from wounds, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder. "We'd like to expand but we just don't have the capacity right now because we are so busy in the summer, so being able to do that throughout the year will allow us to expand that program" Widmer said.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility is scheduled for Saturday, March 25 at 4:00 Ruth Arcand Park, off of Abbott Road.

"We're just incredibly grateful for just all of the support so this is just really a big 'thank you' to the community" Widmer said.