Veterans invited to experience magic, healing of horses

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 11, 2018

FENCE hosting event for former servicemen, servicewomen Saturday

TRYON — This Saturday, those who have served their country will fill the covered arena at the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center.

Working with the veterans will be the equines of the Therapeutic Riding of Tryon program, which will show the retired warriors what it feels like to experience the magic and healing that can happen with horses.

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TROT’s first Veterans’ Family Fun Day will take place Saturday, and will be open to all veterans and their families free of charge.

Lydia Juenger, owner of Mill Spring’s Fox Meadow Farm, will start the day off with a demonstration on the fundamentals of establishing a relationship with horses. Juenger teaches natural horsemanship techniques, and is certified in equine sports massage and myofascial release techniques.

Veteran Tia Long on Windchester, with Sheila Veatch leading and Ailey Morlino sidewalking during a TROT session at FENCE. (Submitted by TROT)

“We’re very excited she’s agreed to do this for us as a volunteer,” said TROT Program Director Allison Rhyne.

After the demonstration, there will be several TROT horses available for the veterans and their families to interact with, Rhyne said.

“They will be able to talk with the horses’ owners, groom the horses, learn about equine anatomy and lead the horses through an obstacle course,” Rhyne said. “Several TROT volunteers will bring mini horses and donkeys for the [children] to interact with.”

The day will include a picnic lunch catered by Southern Manners. Musician Kirk Gollwitzer with New View Realty in Tryon is providing live music for the event.

According to Rhyne, the event is an effort to introduce TROT to more veterans and involve them in their programs.

“We’re hoping a veteran will come with his or her children,” Rhyne said. “It’s a chance for the kids to get interested horses and maybe have a lifelong relationship with them. Most of us at TROT believe that a relationship with horses is fundamental to well-being.”

The event is supported in part by a grant from Heart of Horse Sense, It is free of charge for veterans and their families, but registration is required.

To register, call FENCE at 828-859-9012 or email Guests are asked to specify the morning or afternoon session and include the number of attendees in their family.