Hogs for Horses raises funds for WETRA for seventh straight year

 

 

By Jolene Perron

It started with a few raffles, and developed into a motorcycle ride, which has raised well over $70,000 since it began, allowing the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association to continue to provide their programming in Windsor and Essex County.

Back in 2000, Ken St. Amand was working with General Motors when a friend of his asked if he could put together a pool tournament to raise money to replace one of WETRA’s deceased horses. With only two weeks notice, St. Amand decided to raffle off one of his collectors edition Q-Stick’s, and he was able to raise enough money to buy WETRA a new horse.

The Hogs for Horses event at the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association brought together more than 150 riders this year to help raise funds for the organization, which serves more than 200 clients weekly.

When he retired from General Motors in 2010, he started Hogs for Hospice motorcycle ride.
“It was the people at work, it was their hearts who wanted this to succeed and it just carried on to the point where people were asking me when was my next raffle,” explained St. Amand. “I did that for 10 years at work until I retired and then I wanted to try this and see if it would work. I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of it and the cooperation that we get from the Iron Horse today, they deserve a lot of credit for this. They took this over from me.”

According to Sina Naebkhil, fund development officer for WETRA, for the first five years the entire event was hosted on their premises with live bands, chicken and pasta dinners and raffles.

It began with just 35 riders, and has since grown to include more than 150 riders this year. To ease the stress on the volunteers, The Iron Horse Motorcycle Club who helps to organize the ride decided to move the dinner to Good Time Charly in Windsor, which is where the ride finishes.

“We are really excited, we got good weather and have a pretty good turnout going on,” explained Kevin Telfer, coordinator of the event and member of the Iron Horse Club. “This is an event that our club takes a lot of pride in, we put a lot of time and effort into it. I can only imagine the kids who come out here, and the first half of the week all they talk about is going to see their horse and their trainer. Then the second half of the week they go home and tell everybody about what they did. It’s just something that is great in the community.”

Hogs for Horses brought out more than 150 riders this year. It began seven years ago, with just 35 riders, and has since raised well over $70,000 for the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association.

Naebkhil explained events such as these are essential in allowing WETRA to continue to change the lives of “the most vulnerable people in our community.” They serve 200 clients each week, so community support is essential in helping them to survive.

“We are so grateful for the hard work that the volunteers of the this ride put in to make it such a success,” said Naebkhil. “The funds go directly to support our clients who receive services, allowing WETRA to provide our programs to over 200 clients a week who live with various cognitive/physical disabilities/diagnosis throughout the age continuum to benefit their physical, mental and emotional needs. The spectrum of conditions that benefit from our programs ranges from mental illness, visual impairment, Down Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, post stroke and learning disabilities.”

For more information on WETRA, their services, or to donate, visit wetra.ca.

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