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A Harvest Barn Dance
August 2, 2015
Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center’s inaugural Harvest Barn Dance was a wonderful success, netting more than $30,000 for the organization. The event was also successful in attracting new supporters, new program volunteers, and even an offer of space to bring Giant Steps’ programming to Sonoma.
The evening began with whiskey tasting by Sonoma County Distilling Co., and beer sampling by Carneros Brewing Company, followed by a sumptuous dinner by Ramekins, and lovely wines from Rombauer Vineyards and Keller Estate, among others. All beverages were donated as were the space itself, the floral arrangements, and the VIP bags and all contents.
The event had the support of a robust honorary committee drawn from San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma:
- Terri and Chip Roberson, Event Chairs
- Sarah and Darius Anderson
- Sarah and Matt Appel
- Darby Furth and Tom Bonomi
- Becky and Miguel Delgado, M.D.
- Charlotte and Jon Doyle
- Joey Emmert and Josh Evans
- Lorna Goode and David Grohol
- Holly Hansen
- Charlotte and Don Hart
- Larissa and Doug McCalla
- Ashley Matchett and Craig Woods
With the Honorary Committee’s strong support, the event attracted 138 attendees ranging from Giant Steps board members and long-time donors to supporters from the horse show world to new friends from San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma brought by the honorary committee members.
One of the most popular components of the event was the photo opportunity which featured one of Giant Steps’ therapy horses, Sunny. Throughout the evening virtually every guest stopped by – many stopped by more than once as the evening progressed. One of our instructors was on hand to hold the lead rope for the many attendees unfamiliar with horses. Others looked quite at ease.
The main goal of the evening was, of course, to raise funds for Giant Steps. The organization grants $200,000 in rider scholarships each year with most of the funds coming from events like this one. The fundraising components included a silent auction, a raffle, a live auction and a fund-a-need which was preceded by event chair Terri Roberson sharing the story of one of our adult riders: Bill had been a gardener at a monastery, and he loved being outside and being active. When he was 72, he had three strokes which left him quite debilitated. He went from being an independent, physical person to being very dependent. He lost interest in everything; he became quiet and withdrawn.
“I felt like I was losing the man I knew: he was losing his light,” his wife, Alicia, said. One day the couple was in an elevator and Bill took Alicia’s hand and said, “I can’t do this anymore, I’m so depressed.” There was another woman in the elevator who asked if Bill had ever tried therapeutic riding. He had not, but Bill and Alicia found their way to Giant Steps. Bill has been riding for just over a year, and not only has his light returned, but he gets physically stronger all the time, and he is regaining some independence. He says that riding the horse helps him experience movement and speed again. And, most importantly, he feels at peace.