An annual fundraiser for a unique East Texas therapeutic center that helps special kids achieve their dreams, was held today in Upshur County. The 17th annual Horse and Rider Open House at Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center drew hundreds of supporters to their Upshur county pavilion.
"Windridge belongs to the community and if we can't open our barn doors so to speak to the community and allow them to come out here and see what we do how can we be intertwined?" says Windridge director Margo Dewkett.
The center was developed to offer physical and mental therapy for students with special needs. Young people like Blaine Balliett, 13, have practically grown up here. "We'll I've definitely grown up a lot and I think it's helped me a lot and I know I probably wouldn't be here today without Windridge," says Balliett.
Instructors use horses to help those with physical and mental limitations and what happens here has given many knew perspective in life. "I know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem, an inconvenience is losing a job. A problem is a spinal cord injury," says Dewkett.
The open house creates about one-third of the funding Windridge needs to operate, and many parents say its well worth what the kids get out of it. Brian Brown, 22, suffers cerebral palsy, and has been in the Windridge program since childhood. He now attends college in Kilgore, and says he owes it to Windridge. "This program has been tremendous it has taught me so much about life and people and about how good people can still be" says Brown.
More than 300 people attended today's event.