The 3rd Annual Horses and Horsepower Open Car Show will be held on March 18th (March 25 if rained out on the 18th) at Brutal Off-Road, in Bandera Hwy 16. The Alamo Area Corvette Club (AACC) puts on the event each year and selected Triple H EquiTherapy Center as its beneficiary three years ago.
Gene and Diane Skillrud are members of AACC and are both volunteer and Directors for the organization. They approached the club and with the support of other equine Corvette enthusiasts renamed their annual car show to Horses and Horsepower 3 years ago. Ginger Eways, Executive Director, describes Triple H EquiTherapy as an Equine facility that serves people who have special challenges in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional health. She and her staff of trained professionals work to improve their health via equine assisted therapy. Their clients include everyone from three years on up with no upper age limit. Most of the clients are veterans with PTSD and kids who are at risk, so they do a lot of work with Meadowlands. The interaction with the horses work the magic and they are the catalyst that make it work.
In their ongoing efforts to raise funds for the organization, the group quickly saw an opportunity with AACC to join forces. Afterall, they both are interested in Horse Power. Chris and Richard Lange who are also AACC members have supported other EquiTherapy centers over the years and have seen firsthand the great work the horses do to promote healing.
It’s a family fun event all day with food trucks, activities, and live music. It’s a tremendous event for everyone and a very exciting way to do a car show. There will also be a drill team to present the flag. Past shows have had 100 plus cars on display including Vets, Mustangs, Vintage cars, Trucks, and other classic models. We expect over 150 cars this year.
The money raised from the event goes to support Triple H programs. Each session, about 8 weeks, costs approximately $1000. Very few clients can pay anything toward this program. Kids at residential treatment facilities like Meadowlands and St. Jude cannot cover these costs, so the money goes to those program expenses. One of the biggest expenses is horse care. There are 19 horses used in the program who require a lot of hay and regular annual vet costs. There is a small staff of three full time people and five part time folks who manage the horses and barn, as well as providing the riding lessons as well as volunteers who are the lifeblood of the program. Eway says “We are so blessed with 100 or more volunteers throughout the 26 years we have been in operation.” It was founded by Kent and Cathy Harbaugh who moved here to be closer to her parents who had some health issues. Kent had retired from the Air Force as a Colonel, and she founded an equine therapy center in Alabama prior to founding the one here. Triple H has grown steadily ever since. “We are about changing the lives of folks and improving their mental and physical health. Every client has an individual plan and we tailor what we do with the horse to meet the needs of each individual.
Lange adds, “I think it’s so exciting that the Vette club has partnered with a small non-profit and been so energetic and dedicated to making this a top notch car show. They always put on good car shows, but they’ve also seen the work that Triple H does and are motivated to put on a great show each year to get maximum support.
Eways concludes, “Not everyone responds to talk therapy. Most of our veterans don’t want to talk anymore to therapists.
We have a very holistic approach that is different for them. They respond so much better to the therapy we provide than previous therapy they’ve participated in – moms tell us all the time ‘ You’ve done more for my kids than any other therapy combined! – the horse is such a magnificent creature and they are so empathetic and putting that relationship together is just so powerful it’s a beautiful thing to see.’ A lot of times our veterans will go through the classes and then come back to volunteer. It’s a beautiful thing and we are so blessed.”