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Monday, Sept. 23, 2019

Equine Assisted Therapy

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Boosts opportunities for people with disabilities

The annual “Wine, Dine & Equine” fundraiser benefiting GREAT (Great Results Equine Assisted Therapies) will be held this year from 6-10 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Hill Country at 12475 Ellerbe Road in Shreveport. Wine, Dine & Equine will feature a full bar and live music by the Bayou Gypsies. There will also be live and silent auctions featuring fantastic items.

GREAT is just one of the many programs that The Arc Caddo-Bossier offers to people with disabilities. Other programs include the Goldman School Child Development Center, Frost Industries, employment opportunities and community living. Their overall mission is: Building unlimited opportunities for people with disabilities.

“Wine, Dine and Equine is an exciting event to raise money and awareness for The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s GREAT program,” Caroline Hendrix, director of GREAT, said. “I always look forward to this event because it brings the community together to support a fun and innovative non-profit organization. There’s delicious food, tasty beverages, live music and a live and silent auction!” Ashley Sugar Bates, a member of the GREAT Friends Committee, is also looking forward to the event. “It’s a really good time for a good cause. Also, people should come out because the live and silent auction items are really ‘GREAT,’” Bates laughed.

All the proceeds from Wine, Dine & Equine go directly to GREAT. “It costs around $100 every time someone gets in a saddle at GREAT,” Bates said. “But they only charge the rider $35. So, through fundraisers, grants, rider fees and donations, they try to make up the difference.”

GREAT provides a staff of PATH International (Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructors, who are trained and dedicated to having a positive impact on each student’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Their purpose is to promote a healthy and productive life for people with various disabilities through therapeutic horseback riding.

Food sponsors for the event include Hill Country’s shrimp, grits and brisket; appetizers by Sample Farms; cheese logs from Biscotti’s; grilled veggies from Tejas; au gratin potatoes from Silver Star Grille; blackened chicken pasta from Superior Steakhouse, with desserts from Sweets by Sally, Buttercups and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Auction items include gifts such as an Antler Shed Deer Blind, a seven-night stay in a Perdido Key condo, a sofa by Medina Interiors, artwork by Ashley Palmer, Ellen Blanchard and Cathy Cobb, spa gift cards, grills, purses and more.

“People should support GREAT because they offer horseback riding to children and adults with disabilities,” Bates said. “The smile it puts on the students’ faces is priceless, and the connection between the participant and their horse is amazing. The rider uses all kinds of muscles to balance on the horse — it’s quite a workout. This type of activity helps so many people with all kinds of disabilities, both mental and physical.”

Bates got involved with GREAT when her friend, Liz Thigpen, asked her to help with the fundraiser. “I was more than happy to help with Wine, Dine & Equine because GREAT helps so many people.”

Bates’ mother, Barbara Sugar, who passed away a year ago, is the inspiration behind Bates’ heart to get involved. “My mom always set such a good example for me,” Bates said. “She was such a charitable pillar in our community, and I would like to carry on her legacy.”

“People should come out and support this event because they will be helping a program that makes a positive impact on the lives of children and adults with disabilities,” Hendrix said. “GREAT is truly an asset to the Shreveport Bossier community.”

Tickets are $75 per person, with sponsorship levels as follows:

Host Couple - $300 Select Table Sponsor - $1,000 Premium Table Sponsor - $2,500 Wine, Dine and Equine Reserve Sponsor - $5,000 Wine, Dine an Equine Event Sponsor - $10,000 For more information, contact Liz Thigpen at GREAT (318) 938-9166 or lthigpen@thearccaddobossier.org.


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