Baseball legend Hank Aaron once said, “It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.” This statement of humor and good fun is very much in keeping with the spirit of Hill Top Equine Therapy’s 4th Annual Pasture Golf Tournament fundraiser. The cost to sign up is $100 per team of four, and all proceeds will go to United Way of South Central Oklahoma.
Director Dan Corr described the unique event.
“I set up eight or ten holes throughout the pasture,” Corr said. “Then teams of four head out with one club and a tennis ball.” Participants will also be able to strategize based on the wide variety of “clubs” being offered.
“I don’t care if it’s a stick or a cane,” Corr said. From there the teams partake in a light-hearted competition to be named winner, and the fun will not end even after the tournament is over. Everyone involved in the event will then be able to join in a hot dog roast around an open fire, and Corr will also be hooking up a team of horses to offer hay rides around the ranch.
Horses are obviously the key component to Hill Top Equine Therapy. The organization works primarily with children that have various challenges such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Spinal Bifida and numerous other conditions. Corr described how working with the animals helps build confidence and social skills.
“The horses are such a natural therapy within themselves,” Corr said. “We see some pretty amazing things happen.” He went on to describe some of the benefits of the curriculum.
“You would be amazed at what the kids can accomplish,” Corr said. “Society has put them in this disability box, and we don’t do that out here. Everybody is extraordinary. They each have an extraordinary talent, and part of my job is drawing that out.”
To help draw the talent out, Corr patiently teaches the children how to properly care for the horses and get them into their gear.
“Through repetition and consistency, they all learn a lot,” Corr said. “Somebody just has to take the time to work with them.” Once they have mastered everything they can physically and mentally achieve, then the students have the responsibility to take care of “their” horse. For example, one girl has Cerebral Palsy and she does all of her own grooming. Corr only steps in to help with the high spots she cannot reach on her own.
“Their achievement is huge,” Corr said. “They can achieve. There is a girl with Down Syndrome who goes and finds her horse, puts the halter on, ties him up, brushes him and goes and get’s her pad. Next, here’s she’s coming with her saddle.”
Students ride their horses through mazes built in the covered riding area and out into the pasture during nice weather. The horseback riding provides the children with great exercise and also an opportunity to socialize.
“This is really my passion,” Corr said. “I’ve never been happier in my life than I am now watching these kids grow. This is a family out here. All the separate families connect and collaborate and it’s just pretty amazing.”
To reserve space for your team, contact Dan Corr at (580) 220-7444; however, anyone is welcome to show up at Hill Top Equine Therapy at 9435 N. Meridian in Lone Grove at 11 a.m. Saturday morning as well. Individuals without a team are also encouraged to attend at the cost of $25 per person. The tournament begins at noon.