Cadence Therapeutic Riding Center does great work using horseback riding as therapy for folks recuperating from injuries, strokes and illnesses as well as those with mental and physical disabilities.
But feeding and stabling horses doesn’t come cheap, so on Sept. 26, the organization hosted a fundraiser that tested riders’ relationships with their animals. It took place at Scotty Cox’s Lost Canyon Ranch just this side of Dolores, and the fall colors and wide range of ages made it a fun and memorable day.
The ranch was the only one in the area that could accommodate the trucks and horse trailers for 66 riders. Cox and Cadence board member Ken Crowe set out what they thought was an 8-mile course under the guidance of the American Competitive Trail Horse Association. (Someone brought a GPS system on the day of the ride and discovered that it was actually 11 miles. That probably explains why everyone was late getting back for lunch.)
The course is set up with obstacles that provide proof of the relationship between horse and rider, such as asking a horse to do something as unnatural as backing down a hill into a river. The Junior and Pleasure division riders did it just for fun, but the Open Division riders were competing for points to qualify for a year-end purse of $25,000.
Guests enjoyed breakfast burritos and hot coffee and chocolate before heading out for the course. Riders ranged in age from 8 to 70 plus, and a number of friends came just to enjoy the excursion. After the ride, everyone returned for some chili and other chuckwagon-supper staples, including sizzling rib-eye steaks.
In the Junior Division, first place went to Arianna Smith on Blade; second to Sammi Fish on Mickey; third to Annie Fusco on Kris Kringle; and fourth to Kylie Cobb on India.
In the Pleasure Division, Angela Carpenter riding Abby took first place; second went to Robin Williams on Chino; Jane Robinson was third (she was on a symbolic Horse with No Name, as it wasn’t registered); DanaWinings on Cooper at fourth; Sue Fusco on Bucky took fifth; and Ginger St. Ours on Tica came in sixth.
In the Open Division, where the points really count, Robert Brown on Peso took home bragging honors in first place; Gretchen Powell riding Smoke came in second; Teri Roberts claimed third place on JD; KelliRobertson scored an impressive fourth place on a mule named Lucy Walking the Floor; Bonnie Brown and Twist came in fifth; and Tami Valentine on Blackberry rounded out the top six.
Little Sophia “Pumpkin” Hardesty impressed everyone as she and her pony completed the entire course. Adults called her “quite the horsewoman.”
In addition to Crowe, other board members who helped organize the event included Ron Tyner, DaleTriplett and David Ohman.
As always, a number of businesses and individuals contributed to the event’s success. For this event, they included Freedom Automatic Hay Feeders, Basin Co-op Inc., Appaloosa Trading Co., Farmers Supply, Southwest Ag, Hydration Station and DeLange’s Single Tree Products.
One of my favorite Cadence programs is Horses for Heroes. The group is currently working with a Navy veteran named Justin Schmidt, who returned from Afghanistan with a traumatic brain injury. In the summer of 2008, he came to them in a wheelchair, and by the time of the Cowboy Gathering Parade that October, he was mounting without a ramp. He has continued to make significant progress since then.
If you would like to support Cadence and the fine work it does, contributions may be sent to Cadence Therapeutic Riding Center, P.O. Box 9009, Durango, CO 81302. Visit www.ca denceriding.org for more information.
Receiving a little fall moisture and some Indian summer for their birthdays are Andrea Owen, RochelleMann, Bob Morris, Geoff Overington, Mike Dunaway, Katherine Reynolds, Cameron Wright, BrysonBurnham, Jim Casey, Mark Franklin, David Pugh, Joe Shaw, Tony Siekman, Anke Leadabrand, JimMulkey, Bill Hermesman, Will Lacey, Alfredo Ontiveros, Natalie Bulen, Judy McKay, Chris Goold, Chantel Campbell, Patti Zink, Tom Harms,. Carol Hanes, John Hill, Tyler Campbell, Sylvia Frazier, TimBjorklund, Carson Marquez, Scott Hill, Chris Raulston, Dasha Eggleston, Don Warlick, Ed Tucker, DebbieKjonnas, Dian Jenkins, Kathleen Sayers, Lou Steele, Jonathan Rudolph, Steve Williams, James Wassmund, Heidi Renza, David Ohman, Bill Adams, Gail Stern, Jan Harrison and Nancy Burpee.
Manna Soup Kitchen is enjoying the leadership of new Executive Director Sarah Comerford, and she is enjoying helping to feed the more economically fragile residents of La Plata County.
She’s had an interesting life on both coasts, being born in Los Angeles but growing up on a farm near Rochester, N.Y. Her first love was art, and she attended one year of college majoring in fine arts before finishing a degree in secretarial school.
Then it was off to Denver as a legal secretary before the next stop at San Diego State University, where she worked on its Talent Search program, helping to keep young people in school. While there, she went back to school and earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
It took a couple of catastrophes to get Comerford to Durango. First, while living in San Diego with her son, MaxEich, her house flooded. After five months of living in a hotel, the city said she could move back in – oh, and don’t worry that your house isn’t anchored to the hill anymore.
So she and Max moved to Montclair, N.J., where she was the corporate and foundation relations director for Montclair State University. Then a tragedy that shook all of us took place right outside her office windows. On Sept. 11, everything changed after she saw the World Trade Towers come down, she said, and she experienced what so many people did after the bombings. It was “anxiety through the roof,” Comerford said.
Max decided to move to Durango to live with his dad. As any mother knows, the missing was too great, so she came to Durango, too, first working for KSUT-FM.
“I was the great enabler,” she said, “sitting in a cubicle and writing grants.” It was time to get out of the cubicle and into building strong programs, and Manna came along just at the right time. She loves working with the other two full-time staff members, chef Warren Smith and volunteer coordinator Agnes Mangual, who organizes 450 volunteers. And Comerford loves working with the volunteers and board.
Care and Share, a national food charity, says that to adequately feed every person living in poverty each year, we should distribute 89 pounds of food. In our county, we are currently averaging 7 pounds of food, or the equivalent of 4.11 meals per year.
We can all help by eating. The Manna Soup Kitchen’s seventh annual Soup Supper will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the St. Columba School Gym at 1801 East Third Ave. Last year, the soups were fabulous, the room was beautifully decorated and there were lots of great offerings for the silent auction.
This year, a live auction will be added, and includes a lifetime membership at Dalton Ranch Golf Club (worth $20,000), a gas grill from Big 5 and gift certificates from almost every restaurant in town.
No one should ever go hungry in this land of plenty, and here’s a way to make sure that fewer people go hungry here. I hope I’ll see you there.
Celebrating their anniversaries in front of a crackling fire are Robert and Melanie Mazur, Tom and JanKyser, Bill and Cathy Roberts and Bruce and Kay Mayer,
For information about upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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