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Who’s to say costume contests are just for people, why not horses?

Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 7:23 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Halloween’s here a week early for some horses in Rapid City.

Francie Davis, Executive Director of the SunCatcher Therapeutic Riding Academy, says with experience gorwing up on a ranch, “I know for myself personally there’s a special kind of interaction that happens between horse and man.”

Volunteers and clients at the Riding Academy have come in costumes, and have dressed up horses for a friendly competition.

“If you’re in costume,” says Davis, “such as myself, you get extra coupons and you get to vote in the buckets here for the horses. Whichever horse gets the most votes wins best dressed of the day.”

So everyone is getting an opportunity to choose their favorite costume. Well, almost everyone.

“I actually do not as Executive Director,” says Davis with a laugh and a beaming smile, “I have to remain a neutral party.” She adds, “You’ll notice our horses all have had had more than a couple birthdays, which is fantastic for our riders.”

Riders with disabilities can find a therapeutic comfort by forging a bond with a horse, and since most individuals who seek that comfort are generally not experienced with horses age becomes a benefit. Oftentimes that very age goes hand in hand with a more relaxed animal.

“Most of them their therapy happens while we’re at a walk, [or when] we’re leading the horse. It’s able to help our clients mentally, emotionally and physically,” says Davis.

She says the relationship between man and horse can be summed up well with one of her favorite quotes.

“There’s something about the outside of the horse that’s good for the inside of a man,” asserts Davis.

She’s been Executive Director of the academy for just a few weeks, but is grateful for the help from the community. Especially volunteers from Ellsworth Airforce Base and South Dakota State University’s Nursing Program.

“All of our volunteers who are here who have done so much work with the horses and meeting some of our clients for the first time today, it’s absolutely incredible. The passion that people have to help other people within our community, I’m really excited to be a part of that. There’s a different sense of purpose -- A different sense of belonging to something that’s much bigger than us. We can continue to grow that and help our community even more,” says Davis.

The non-profit Riding Academy would also like to invite anyone to come to their Chili and Soup Feed taking place at the Moose Lodge November 2 at 5:00 p.m.

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