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Riding center for kids with special needs and veterans seeks urgent help

by jmaloni


Thu, Mar 26th 2015 06:50 pm

600 riders need indoor arena replaced due to snow damage

Hundreds of riders, from war veterans to children with special needs, are all booked to ride at Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center in East Aurora for the season. There's just one big problem: All the snow that fell in East Aurora this past winter has taken a toll on the riding center's indoor barn and riding arena. Right now, structural engineers have deemed the indoor arena beyond reasonable repair and lessons have been postponed until the weather improves and the outdoor arena can be used for the bulk of lessons.

"Unfortunately, the buildings at Lothlorien have suffered significant damage as snow has begun to melt," said Maggie Keller, executive director of the riding center. "Our insurance coverage is $100,000, a mark we will reach and surpass. Barn builders have estimated the cost of a new arena and demolition of the existing arena at approximately $275,000. We've secured $60,000 from two large foundations in Western New York, but need to raise $115,000 in additional funding to rebuild."

The riding center has launched a GoFundMe.com funding campaign page called "Lothlorien TRC: Save Our Center" to accept donations from the community.

"Gifts of any size are most welcome," Keller said. "People can also call us at 716-655-1335 if they'd like to give a gift, or mail a check payable to Lothlorien Riding Center at 15 Reiter Road, East Aurora, NY, 14052."

Using therapeutically based equine activities, Lothlorien's staff, volunteers and 14 horses assist individuals with physical, cognitive, mental and emotional needs to achieve their highest potential. Riders have improved their communication skills while on their horse, interacted more at home and school after riding and progressed from riding with complete support to riding independently.

The center began in 1986 and has served more than 1,200 individuals in the past two years.

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