Kendall County residents have historically been big supporters of anything that enables them to get outside, enjoy the beauty in our area, and have a good time. The 2nd Annual Horses & Horsepower Open Car Show on March 19 will accomplish all of these objectives. Chris Lange, Triple H Equitherapy member and Ginger Eways, the Executive Director of the same organization sat down recently to discuss the event, its mission, and how you can support them.
As for what Triple H Equitherapy, the donor recipient is, Eways begins, “We serve people who have special challenges in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional health and we work to improve their health via the equine assisted therapy. Our clients include everyone from 3 year olds to no upper limit on age. Most of our clients are veterans with PTSD and kids who are at risk so we do a lot of work with Meadowlands. The horses work the magic and are the catalyst that make it work.”
In their ongoing efforts to raise funds for the organization, the group quickly saw an opportunity with the Alamo Area Corvette Club. Lange says, “The Alamo Area Corvette club always puts on a car show and we always pick a non-profit to support. 2 of our members, my husband and myself, love horses so we knew about Triple H. This is our 2nd year to do this at Triple H. We like the affiliation with the horse therapy – my husband I have supported equine therapy centers for a long time.” Eways chimes in, “One of the interesting things about the event is that most car shows don’t take place on a ranch and the horse power of the animals that do all the healing along with the horse POWER of the horses ties in well with the horsepower of the cars. We’re unique that we’re out in the boonies on a ranch – it’s a family fun event all day and we have games and activities and food trucks and live music…it’s a tremendous event for everyone. It’s very exciting way to do a car show. We have a drill team coming even! The show last year had over 100 cars and a lot of them were Vettes and Mustangs, but any sort of classic car is welcomed. We’re expecting over 200 this year.”
As for where your money goes, Eways jumps right in. “We are a 501c3 – the money goes to support the programs that we offer to those with the challenges. It must cost us about $1000 a session (which is like 8 weeks) with the horses and very few of our clients can afford to pay anything. The kids at residential treatment facilities at Meadowlands and St. Jude’s can’t cover these costs, so the money goes to those program expenses. One of our biggest expenses is horse care – 19 horses requires a lot of hay and vet bills. We have a very small staff which is currently 3 full time people and 5 part time folks and we can do all this work via volunteers, who are the lifeblood of the program. We are so blessed with 100 or more volunteers throughout the year. 26 years ago it was founded – Kent and Cathy Harbaugh – 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 AL, and founded another one here. We’ve grown ever since. We’re about changing lives of folks and improving their mental and physical help. Every client has an individual plan and we tailor what we do with the horse to what ways we can meet their needs.”
Lange adds, “I think it’s so exciting that the Vette club has partnered with a small nonprofit 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 we do and they’ve been motivated to put on a great show that we 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 – 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 and it’s such 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.”