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Arabian horse association partners with NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program

Honoring the Arabian Horse Association’s announcement of the month of May as “Celebration of the Arabian Horse Month,” the Arabian Horse Association of New Mexico is expanding its support of New Mexico State University’s Therapeutic Riding Program. AHANM, with a strong history of supporting local charitable projects, selected the riding program as their choice charity earlier this year.

Two people standing next to box
Vincent Minjarez and Michala Hall, students in the Therapeutic Riding Animal Science 302 class, have volunteered to help raise funds for the horse ambassador campaign. Hall is also a volunteer in the Therapeutic Riding Association. (NMSU photo by Sarah Veeder)

The idea to work with TRP was suggested by AHANM board member Wendy Wilkins and was enthusiastically supported by AHANM president Jim Porcher and colleague board member Kathy Towery. AHANM will donate 10 percent of the profits from the horse shows it sponsors to the riding program. NMSU students and other members of the Therapeutic Riding Association will be an active and visible presence at the horse shows by serving as volunteers.

“AHANM has a history of supporting other organizations that do work in the community and we think this is a great way for our Arabian club to be a good neighbor and community partner,” Wilkins said. “What better organization for an Arabian club to support than one that uses horses as therapy animals?”

The new May initiative involves having an Arabian horse elected as ambassador to the riding program for the 2015-2016 academic year. Four ambassador candidates are vying for election. The equine candidates represent four typical disciplines for Arabians and four typical Arabian colors. Each cent donated to a candidate horse equals a vote, and the collected funds will be donated to the riding program.

“The TRP student volunteers are very open to the idea of having an ambassador and have shown great interest and support in this competition,” TRP program director Sarah Veeder said. “Student volunteers are getting into the spirit by donating their personal money and encouraging others to vote for their favorite horse. I’m sure there is some friendly competition about which horse is going to win with some of our students, too.”

Small donations such as pocket change can be left in the candidate “ballot boxes” at several local barns and at the upcoming Zia show, May 13-15, held at the Expo grounds in Albuquerque. Larger donations, for which receipts for tax purposes will be provided, should be made by check to “TRP at College of ACES, New Mexico State University” and mailed to the AHANM.

The successful ambassador candidate will be announced at the 60th anniversary celebration of AHANM at the end of the Zia Classic horse show, Friday, May 15, at the Expo grounds. The celebration will include an appearance by the newly elected ambassador, entertainment, games, a silent auction, baking contest and a barbecue anniversary dinner, including cake and ice cream.

In the future, the Arabian horse ambassador for the TRP will appear at functions and events to help highlight the work of the riding program.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to create a new working relationship with AHANM,” Veeder said. “Our TRP student volunteers are going to gain so much knowledge from attending and working these horse shows. We are so thankful for AHANM deciding to support us and partnering up with us. I am excited to see where this relationship takes us.”

Tickets to the barbecue for the 60th anniversary party of AHANM cost $5 and must be purchased by noon Friday, May 15, in the show office. If you are not an exhibitor you may reserve tickets by contacting Evelyn Huff, 575-571-2245, or ehuff@nmsu.edu.

For more information on the Therapeutic Riding Program or AHANM, visit their websites at http://trp.nmsu.edu/index.html, and http://www.nmarab.com/