Photos Provided By Ark Regional Services

Ark Regional Services in Laramie is hosting a free public BBQ this week, presenting an opportunity to learn more about their equestrian program.

The summer BBQ takes place from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 13. Hungry folks from around the region can attend at the Ark Equestrian Center, located at 1375 North Pine Street.

This free event features hamburgers from Bear Bait Grill.

Those who attend will be able to meet the center’s therapy horses, see the arena, meet Ark staff, participate in a silent auction and participate in family activities. Children will even be able to paint some of the therapy horses.

Even though the Equestrian Center has been in Laramie for over a decade, it is commonly overlooked and unheard of in the community.

“The equestrian program has been around in some form or another since the mid 90’s,” says Joelle Ashley, marketing and public relations coordinator with Ark Regional Services. “Really, most of the time when we talk about it to people they say, ‘I had no idea—I had no idea you had an arena. I had no idea you had this program,’ and we really just want people to come and see it because it’s pretty amazing.”

The equestrian program provides employment opportunities for those who receive support through the Ark. In addition, those utilizing the services help in caring for the horses and the arena.

The program provides Hippotherapy, which is treatment with the aid of horses. Those who undergo the Hippotherapy and participate in recreational riding at the center are not always people who utilize the Ark’s services. People of all ages and walks of life participate in the equestrian program.

“As far as our Hippotherapy program goes, anything that they can do in an occupational therapy room setting, we can adapt that to the back of a horse,” says Ed Ulrich, Equestrian Services Coordinator. “And the reason for a horse is because simulates a human gate. So someone who has never walked before can actually get that same movement on the back of the horse.”

Ami Egge, Vice President of Community Resources, adds that the program includes mental and physical benefits. She says the therapy can help improve core strength, balance, coordination, confidence, and a feeling of independence.

In addition to the BBQ, the Ark is holding a Pig Raffle. This is an opportunity for a chance at a whole processed pig which was raised by the Ark Equestrian Center. Tickets for the raffle are $10 a piece of $50 for six tickets and are available at 1150 N. 3rd St. and at 1375 N. Pine St. Tickets may be purchased with cash, check, Visa, or Mastercard.

The pig drawing will take place on September 4. Proceeds from the raffle benefit the center’s Adopt-a-Horse Program.

For more information on the Equestrian Center, visit www.arkhorses.org.