Athelas Therapeutic Riding Needs Our Help!

Friends of Athelas,

As you know, COVID-19 has hit everyone hard. Athelas has been severely impacted by the closures and the risks it imposes. At the beginning, in March, we were forced to close our doors for lessons. We were finally able to open again for a limited number of riders in mid-July. Being closed for our peak lesson season caused Athelas to face a significant financial blow. Majority of the funding comes from the weekly scheduled lessons. Due to the government restrictions, we did not have many riders come back once we were open. Wearing a mask, in a barn, for 30 minutes is something that can be quite challenging for some of our riders. We also work with a lot of the local agencies and due to their restrictions, they were unable to allow their clients to return to riding. Most riders come from the major agencies in the area. Athelas continues to struggle. Typically, in a normal year, rider count would lessen during the colder, winter months. That is going to happen again this year. The major problem with that is that Athelas is currently giving around 10 lessons per week – our average is 35-40 lessons a week.

Athelas is facing a huge challenge. That challenge is: will we survive this pandemic through the winter months? Aside from the lack of lessons, Athelas was unable to hold their two major fundraisers, the Barn Dance and the Haunted Barn. Not receiving funding from those events has put an even greater financial burden on the program. Athelas does not want to close. The Board, the instructors, the staff,
and the volunteers are fighting but without a little help from our friends, families, and our community, the future does not look bright.

One of Athelas’ greatest challenges has always been receiving funding for the pillars of our program: our horses and now more than ever they need to find a way to support their amazing horses. Without money coming in the program they cannot afford to continue to provide the care their horses require. Athelas could not run without the amazing horses that give their heart and soul to every adult and child placed upon their backs. Not only are horses expensive to care for, but because a therapy program requires horses that have experienced so much, have lived through may life challenges, and that are slow and safe for every
rider, the horses tend to be older thus requiring more care than your average horse. Tyler has been a staple in our program for years. He is only getting older each year (he is now 25!) but he refuses to stop giving lessons because he knows our most anxious riders need him. Powder has seasonal allergies that
can cause severe breathing problems yet, she continues to bring smiles to the faces of her riders each day. She received many nebulizer treatments within the last couple of months to help her breathing. Cosmo has put in many hours with our independent riders and due to all his previous work throughout
his life he really benefits from having a daily joint supplement. On top of all those things we also must remember that the horses require routine farrier visits. All the horses need their feet taken care of on a regular basis. Dart only remains sound (meaning able to work without being in pain) with the help of
specially made horseshoes which are quite pricey! Daily care of feed, grain, bedding in stalls is required and as most items in today’s economy, the prices continue to rise.

Athelas and their horses have helped the community in many ways. They have provided a place of safety and comfort for many individuals
with disabilities and special needs. Some of their clients only outings are to the barn to spend time with their favorite horse friends. They so desperately want to push through this pandemic and financial struggle so when the riders can return, they have their safe place and their friends waiting for them. Athelas needs your help. There are not many therapeutic riding programs with PATH International
certified instructors in the surrounding area and this program is so beneficial to so many individuals that need it. They offer more than just riding lessons and the horses have dedicated their lives to helping those that need them. The way the horses interact with their riders is something you must witness to utterly understand. It is unbelievable how such a giant animal can be so comforting, so loving, and so understanding no matter what the circumstances are. They give the ability to walk to those who cannot. They give the freedom to those restricted in every other part of their lives. They never judge, they never question, they continue to be there day after day for anyone who needs them. Now is our
time to be there for them. If you can give any thing to help support Athelas’ amazing horses and program to keep them all safe and sound through the winter and to help them get back on their feet it would be greatly appreciated. I love this program, the horses, the people, and the clients and they all
deserve a chance to make it through this exceedingly difficult time.

For more information about Athelas visit their website:


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  • Steve Baldanza 
    • $25 
    • 17 d
  • Joyce Klaus 
    • $30 
    • 24 d
  • Ann Marie DeForest 
    • $30 
    • 26 d
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    • $50 
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Tiffany Perillo 
Otego, NY
Athelas Therapeutic Riding,Inc 
Registered nonprofit
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