The NOTRA hopes to sell out tickets by June 17. (Photo contributed)

Help heal with horses by supporting Vernon fundraiser

The Therapeutic Riding Association hosts a barn dance at the Silver Sage Staples on June 23.

If you like live country music, dancing and like supporting local holistic health initiatives, you’re in luck.

The North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association is hosting a barn dance on June 23 to raise awareness and funds for their therapeutic riding program.

The North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association, NOTRA, has been in existence since 1984. Since their genesis, the program has changed as science has evolved. Horse therapy, also known as equestrian or equine-assisted therapy, is a versatile treatment program for recovery and aid for all kinds of medical conditions. This includes PTSD, autism and mood disorders. Unlike smaller therapy animals like dogs, horses are known for their empathy — for attuning themselves with human emotion and cultivating a calming effect.

“Horses help with a lot of different types of rehabilitation and there’s a lot of science that backs up how horses and people respond to each other,” said Jennifer Knox, Fundraising chair for the NOTRA. “They sync their heartbeats when people are riding horses and it helps with muscle tone and general well-being. There are kids with autism and PTSD and a lot of physical disabilities, brain-injured people, adults that live in care homes in wheelchairs that often end up sitting on a horse.”

Knox said that while they are located in Vernon, they have a reach that extends throughout North Okanagan. She said they have about 85 riders of all ages and abilities currently enrolled in their program.

Related: NOTRA leads the way

“We want to put on an event to try to raise some major funds for our program because we’re really trying to show the value of the program and put it out there so more people understand it,” said Knox.

The event will include a pizza food truck and a pie bar, line and two-step dancing lessons, a live band and a silent auction. Tickets are $55 each and available at Vernon Vintners 100 – 100 Kal Lake Rd Tuesday through Saturday. The NOTRA hopes to sell out by June 17.

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