Presenting a $1,055.96 check to the Health With A Horse program founder Kimberly Patton is J.R. Savoie of the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of White Lake Council 12985. Sitting on the therapy horse “Harry” is three-year-old Evan Weesies, who was born prema
In fairy tales, the knight comes to the aid of the princess. In a real story, the local Knights of Columbus council has come to the financial aid of a non-profit organization which uses horses to benefit children who have been diagnosed with chronic or life threatening illnesses.
The K of C Our Lady of White Lake Council 12985 has donated $1,055.96 to the Heal With A Horse therapy program which was founded in 2009 by Kimberly Patton.
The donation was a portion of the funds raised by the local council of the Knights of Columbus during its annual Tootsie Roll sale. Funds raise go toward helping the mentally impaired at the state and local levels.
The program offers equine therapy for children under age 18 at no cost to the families served.
Current financial needs for the non-profit program is a ramp to help get the children onto the horses and funds to help care and feed the three therapy horses. Cost of the care and feed is $250 a month per horse.
“Our hope is to get sponsors for a horse,” said Jenn Kater, one of the program’s equine therapists.
According the organization’s website, healwithahorse.org, Patton started the equine therapy following the death of her best friend to cancer. The idea came to her because of their shared love of horses.
Heal With A Horse’s goal is to raise funds to build a barn with state of the art facilities. Currently, the program rents an indoor riding arena from Emerald Acres, owned by Jerry and Beth Kroll. It is located at 8420 S. 64th Ave. in Oceana County’s Claybanks Township.
“I’m a firm believer in this (equine therapy),” said J.R. Savoie of the K of C council. “For free, this is a great service, but it’s not cheap therapy.”
On the day he presented the donation to Patton, the program’s equine therapist’s were working with three-year-old Evan Weesies of Montague who has developmental issues since he was born premature at 1 lb. 6 oz. on Christmas Day 2009. He is the son of Ryan and Lindsey Weesies.
The therapists said the therapy has helped Weesies strengthen his core, helping him to sit up on the horse while it is being led around the arena. “We had to hold him on the horse when he started,” Kater said. “He can now hold himself up.”
Patton said word of the Heal With a Horse Program has spread by word of mouth and through information provided to health providers. Children are referred to the program by physicians.
The program has also partnered with the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury to offer special housing packages for out-of-town families who stay overnight while their child receives the equine therapy.
In the equine therapy, the children will not only ride a horse, but will learn all aspects of horse care and actually care for the horse.
Persons interested in donating to Health With A Horse can contact Jenn Kater by phone at 231-425-6856 or by email at email@example.com. A PayPal account has been established to accept all major credit cards.