DACUSVILLE — Happy Hooves at Eden Farms is holding its annual Wines and Equines fundraiser this Saturday to benefit the organization’s therapeutic riding program for kids and adults with special needs.
“This is our fifth time doing it and it’s always a lot of fun,” said Eden Farms barn manager Becky Sweeney. “But it’s more than a good time — it’s also for a really good cause.”
Happy Hooves was formed when Becky’s mother and Eden Farms owner, Amy Goudelocr, wanted to open the farm up to the public to provide a safe place where people can reach their fullest potential through relationships with horses.
“All of the rest of the stuff we do here at the farm, all of the boarding, the birthday parties, the trail rides — everything — it was all created so we can support Happy Hooves,” said Sweeney. “This is why we’re here.”
The benefits of therapeutic riding has been well documented in studies.
“You take a kid with emotional difficulties and you place them with a horse — give them that kind of responsibility — and you see a change come over them,” said Sweeney. “Horses don’t judge, they just do their thing. And the kids, they respond to it.”
According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the results measured after a session of assisted riding isn’t something that can be duplicated by stretching or exercises alone. The study focused on 15 kids who suffered from spastic cerebral palsy.
“After (equine) therapy, significant improvement in symmetry of muscle activity was noted in those muscle groups displaying the highest asymmetry prior to therapy,” the study reads. “No significant change was noted after sitting astride a barrel.”
The study concluded that it was the movement of the horse that accounted for the measured improvements.
Sweeney, among others, asserts that the benefits for equine therapy aren’t just physical: Self-esteem, communication skills, self-awareness, relaxation, empowerment, interpersonal relationships, self-control, focus, concentration and overall happiness are all things that a rider can see improvement with after each session.
“There’s no doubt that many, many people and kids can benefit from Happy Hooves — that’s why this fundraiser is so important,” said Sweeney.
Wines and Equines will feature music, silent and live auctions, a therapeutic riding demonstration and of course, wine. The event is located at Eden Farms, 4700 Dacusville Highway and the doors open at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 24.
Tickets are $40 a person and may be purchased online at www.happyhoovessc.com or by calling 864-898-0043.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.