- BC Games
It’s all about horse power and teamwork
What do equestrian therapy and classic hot rods have in common?
They both deal in horse power — something British Columbia Hot Rod Association (BCHRA) president Keith Biddlecombe said make the two groups natural partners.
On Dec. 15 Biddlecombe presented the Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association with a donation of $13,000, part of a decade-old commitment to the group by the BCHRA, which has raised more than $130,000 in that time.
All the funds have been raised through a yearly auction held at the beginning of December, explained Biddlecombe, who has been involved with the BCHRA — one of the oldest clubs in the province — for eight years.
“It’s something that’s been building momentum and holding it,” he said.
Equestrian therapy works to improve the lives of children and adults living with conditions like cerebral palsy, behaviour problems and autism spectrum disorders. In the case of physical disabilities, riding therapy can help improve posture, balance and co-ordination — largely because a horse’s gate mimics human hip movement.
Biddlecombe said his club is happy to focus all their charity efforts on the cause as a way of not only helping local children in need, but also keeping the spirit of the importance of horse power alive.
“The Hot Rod Association have been a strong supporter of the Valley,” said Brenda Singbeil, who serves as secretary on the board of directors for VTEA.
According to Singbeil, the donated funds have played a huge role in bringing new programs to the facility, including the purchase of a specially designed horse-drawn buggy that allows those unable to physically ride horses to experience the freedom of movement, independence and responsibility that comes with learning to drive a horse.
The support from the BCHRA has also allowed the creation of the Hoofprints program, which uses equine guided therapy as an alternative to traditional office-based “talk therapy.”
In the program, a registered clinical counsellor and an equine specialist team up in a model that incorporates counselling, learning from direct experience and focus on personal development.
Singbeil says the program can be especially beneficial for those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse problems.
“It’s a chance for them to interact with that animal,” she said.
“Some of them it actually helps get talking.”