First organized in 1993, the Ride-A-Thon has become the major source of funding for The Equestrian Therapy Program. The idea came from instructor, Jeannette Wood, who thought that it would be a way for adult riders to get in an extra day of riding, have fun, and raise money for the Program to help keep fees down.
That first effort resulted in $3,308.00 being raised to defray costs for the riders. They rode during regular class time, and usually rode outside whenever possible, until there came to be so many visitors and cars that that was no longer a safe option. The Ohio Horseman's Council held a trail ride as a fundraiser for three years. Their riders met our riders at the reservoir, then came back to the farm for a luncheon in the woods - unless it rained, in which case the arena was utilized. In 2004, young riders joined the adults for the first time in getting pledges and riding. At first, food was provided by Jeannette and other volunteers. Then local businesses began to fill the gaps in everyone's stomachs - Brown's Restaurant in Wapakoneta and Lee's Famous Recipe in Lima. For many years now, the Husky Action Club has stepped in to become our lunchtime “ace in the hole", providing delicious hot sandwiches, chips, drinks and cookies for all comers.
In the 20 plus years the Ride-A-Thon has been in existence, it has continued to grow. We have a goal of raising $70,000.00 this year to help defray expenses. New features have been added, such as the Pumpkin Festival, the hayrides, and the tent sale. Last year this event hosted over 400 visitors. This year we are once again producing a program booklet, which allows local businesses to support the Program by submitting their sponsorships.
Throughout the history of the Ride-A-Thon, changes and improvements have enhanced the experience for all who participate. We thank the riders, their families, the volunteers, the ETP Staff, our sponsors and the people and businesses of our 11-county area who support us so generously, thus making our mission of providing services to persons with disabilities possible.