Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pony up for SETCH

Cowboy Ball tomorrow night

Express Staff Writer

SETCH is dedicated to providing equine therapy to improve the quality of life for handicapped individuals.

Tomorrow night, Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped (SETCH), based in Hailey, will host its 15th annual Cowboy Ball. The event will raise money for this worthy cause through ticket sales, live and silent auctions and donations. SETCH uses equine therapy to improve the quality of life for handicapped people. The organization does not charge for its services and relies entirely on donations and this annual fundraiser.

"As the years have gone by we've gone from about 20 kids (in the program) to 300," Patty Carter, former president of SETCH, said prior to last year's ball. "We've gone from a cost to run the program of about $25,000 a year to about $300,000 a year."

Thursday's event is already sold out, but those wishing make a donation can call Lynn Kaplan at 725-5094.

Founded in 1991 by Kristy Pigeon, a former junior Wimbledon champion, SETCH provides equine-facilitated therapy for challenged adults and children. The goal is to provide physical, cognitive and emotional benefits that will encourage independence, help develop life skills and improve the quality of life for handicapped people.

Pigeon explained the benefits of horse therapy: "Riding is beneficial to individuals with motor-orientated disabilities because it simulates a human walking gait. The physical therapeutic value of riding a horse comes from the multi-directional up, down, left, right movement that occurs when you are being led on a horse. This movement forces you to constantly make minor adjustments to your balance, your posture and your trunk. Therefore, you are developing strength, working on coordination, and, most importantly, balance. For individuals who have some spasticity (an involuntarily muscle reaction), riding a horse in a therapeutic situation is proven to reduce the affliction."

SETCH is also a forerunner in the testing and design of adaptive equipment to enable challenged individuals to ride independently. Last year a special contraption was developed to enable Jesse Matey (who was in a coma for four months after suffering a massive head injury from a car accident) to ride independently for the first time since his accident.

Other programs SETCH maintains include a work study program for "at risk" Blaine County teenagers, a cancer program offering rehabilitation for children suffering from brain tumors, and a special Olympic equestrian team, 17 of whom went to the state games in Boise last October, winning a record 32 gold medals.

Even if you missed out on tickets to the ball, SETCH is a program well worth supporting.


Sagebrush live auction lots

Plan now to get one of these great items or packages at the Thursday, July 13, Cowboy Ball:

· Phoenix Luxury—a week's vacation for 12 people at · Pat and Patty Carter's house on the golf course at Troon North.

· A 1950s Car-hop Party at the Sun Valley Auto Club for 150.

· National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for six—roundtrip via private jet Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. Accommodations at Bellagio for two nights. Hand painted Furnished Teepee.

· Wine Gala for 24 at the Figge Barn, Ketchum—gourmet dinner, live jazz and premium wines from Grace Family Vineyard and Trefethen Winery.

· Sagebrush Cabin Party for 80—includes full dinner, open bar, wait staff, wines and live entertainment.

· Sharon Payne's Fish Bench—handmade and painted wooden bench with fish décor by local artist.

· Kona Village, Hawaii—deluxe thatched-roof "Hale" (cottage) at Kona Village Resort on the Big Island. Four days and three nights for two people.

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