Military veterans get $5m boost for equine assisted therapy

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Equine therapy for military veterans has received a $5 million funding boost from the US government.

The funding will enable an expansion of services that use equine-assisted therapy in conjunction with mental health care treatment and services to veterans.

The picture of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah aboard "Air Horse One" returning to Churchill Downs on June 7, 2015, the day after he won the Belmont Stakes, has been donated by Davina Clark for the CKRH's online auction.
The picture of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah aboard “Air Horse One” returning to Churchill Downs on June 7, 2015, the day after he won the Belmont Stakes, has been donated by Davina Clark for the CKRH’s online auction.

It follows the passing of H.R. 5895, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act; 2018  by the US House of Representatives. Introduced by U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), it includes an amendment to increase funding for the Veterans Affairs’ Adaptive Sports Grant Program for equine-assisted therapy, increasing funding by $5 million for fiscal year 2019.

The move has been applauded by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund.

“We are grateful to see this convergence of good news and good programs to benefit both veterans and horses,” said HSUS senior adviser Marty Irby, who thanked Barr for “his continued commitment to securing resources that will help our heroic American veterans and equines.”

Triple Crown winner lends support

Halters worn by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, his sire Pioneerof the Nile, and grandsire Empire Maker, are among the Thoroughbred racing-related items in an online auction to raise money for Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, the 37-year-old program at the Kentucky Horse Park that offers equine-assisted activities and therapies to people of all ages.

The online auction is part of CKRH’s 15th annual gala fundraiser, Night of the Stars, on Saturday, June 23, at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.

Farms that donated halters include Adena Springs, Claiborne Farm, Coolmore, Gainesway Farm, Godolphin, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, Juddmonte Farms, Taylor Made Farm, Three Chimneys Farm and WinStar Farm.

Halters worn by other great racehorses including Arrogate, Curlin, Empire Maker, Gun Runner, Medaglia d’Oro, Orb, Tiznow, Uncle Mo and War Front are included in the auction. As well as a halter, a saddle towel used by California Chrome is also on offer.

Other items include racing-related offers, photographs, jewelry, art, and collectibles, and a framed, signed and numbered print of Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk by Richard Stone Reeves.

The highlight of the night is the live auction of CKRH students and therapy horses in themed costumes in the style of a prestigious Thoroughbred sale. Among the horses in the auction are the Thoroughbred Impressive John R., a former racehorse who participates in CKRH programs for Military Veterans, at-risk youth and Fayette County high school students; and the Morgan-cross Chico, a highly decorated hippotherapy horse.

Tickets are $150 each and available from CKRH at (859) 231-7066.

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