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Ride to Walk celebrates silver anniversary

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Know and Go Ally’s 5K Run When: 8 a.m. Saturday Where: Ride to Walk, 1630 Highway 193 Info: ridetowalk.org, 434-0693 The nonprofit Ride to Walk organization will celebrate its 25th anniversary this Saturday with the Ally’s 5K run. The run will take place June 19 to raise money for the Ally Memorial Scholarship Fund, according to Suzanne Bratkovich, a Ride to Walk physical therapist. “Ride to Walk is a therapeutic horseback-riding program and it provides equine-assisted therapy to children and adults in the community with neurological disabilities,” Bratkovich said. Ally, who the 5K run is named after, started riding at the center when she was two. She died last year at the age of four, according to Doc Livingston, a Ride to Walk riding instructor. The Ally Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide money for children to ride at the center, according to Livingston. That money is needed because Ride to Walk lost 100 percent of its funding in September when its major source of funding was withdrawn, according to founder and director Kristine Corn. “Alta California Regional Center used to fund all of the children and did so until September of 2009, and that was because of the budget crisis in the state,” Corn said. “We’ve lost half our riders because the parents didn’t have the funding or couldn’t find the funding, and the other half either could manage to do it or found help.” Money raised during this Saturday’s 5K run will be used to fund riders. Corn said it costs between $2,500 and $3,000 to fund a rider for one year. “We are always grateful if someone could sponsor a child or a horse for the year or half a year,” Corn said. “We’re always looking for volunteers, who help with making a safe ride for the child.” Riding horses can help those with muscle tone problems, balance, coordination, and strength, according to Bratkovich. “The movement of the horse acts to simulate the motion the human body does when walking,” Bratkovich said. Equine therapy is also helpful for children on the autism spectrum, according to Bratkovich, who said riding “helps them to become more focused.” “When they are more focused, they’re able to learn and connect with other people, and to communicate,” Bratkovich said. For more information about how to sponsor a rider or horse, and about volunteering, call Ride to Walk at 434-0693 or go to ridetowalk.org.