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Rising Hope to Host ‘Christmas at the Barn’

by and on November 19, 2020 5:00 AM
Bellefonte, PA

BELLEFONTE — The Rising Hope Therapeutic Riding Center has planned a special event for 1-5 p.m. on Saturday called “Christmas at the Barn.”

Rising Hope has been in operation for five years and is located at 388 Reese Road, Bellefonte. The center offers riding programs for kids and adults and opportunities to interact with horses that are geared to individuals’ needs. The barn offers a peaceful atmosphere for stroke victims, vets with PTSD, children with special needs and others.

On Saturday, the staff has planned a day that will offer family-oriented fun and a chance to be around horses — large and small.

Lisa DeHaas recently shared how spending time at the barn and riding her favorite horse has helped her — both physically and emotionally — after her stroke.

“I got on that horse and I became both stronger and happier,” she said.

DeHaas is now a volunteer at Rising Hope, a participant in the program and the fundraising coordinator for the group.

She explained there is no cost to attend ‘Christmas at the Barn’ and it is open to the public. The barn staff will offer finger foods, “Horse” d’oeuvres and a fire pit, where visitors can enjoy s'mores with the other guests.

A scavenger hunt with the miniature horses promises to be fun for the younger set. The children will walk with the “minnies” and find things along the way.

A professional photographer will be snapping pictures for anyone wishing to mark the afternoon. There is a fee for the pictures. To arrange your photo shoot time, contact Andrea McGregor at [email protected] . The cost is $75 for photos with a horse with 5 to 10 digital copies provided to the customer.

Items for sale include note cards, calendars and other Rising Hope memorabilia.

Cindy Kocher and Yvonne McCaslin are co-founders of Rising Hope. Their story is inspiring with the many details that fell into place to enable them to build and offer this important therapeutic facility.

“Another new program is Miniature Horsemanship Skills, which is a 30 to 40 minute experience with the minis,” explained McCaslin. “We have taken the minis to assisted living and rehabilitation facilities. We have taken them twice to Encompass Health. We have served the Life Skills Class at Bald Eagle and Bellefonte high schools.”

Kids can learn riding and grooming skills, and share what they’ve learned with a brother or sister through a “sibling” program.

Day Wishes is a one-time, free hour where a person can call and request to simply spend time at the barn and see if it’s something that would benefit the individual. This is an offering that is unique to Rising Hope and not found at most therapeutic riding stables.

The Vet Program is called Freedom Reins. For veterans — especially those with PTSD issues — the horses provide a calming soothing presence that has helped many vets. Riding can help people become stronger and working with the horses provides mental and emotional benefits. There are approximately 12 veteranss with family who attend regularly.

There are 30 people who come regularly for lessons or to interact with horses and between 15 and 20 volunteers at the center.

Last year, Caslin said, “there were over 600 volunteer hours logged. We are happy to have volunteers and they may come for an hour on their own schedule or more if they find the time.”

Rising Hope is open Monday Through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The last lesson starts at 5:30 p.m. Rates are normally $40 for 45 minutes, but donors have provided some scholarships.

For information or to schedule a time to visit, call (814) 933-8414. Rising Hope also has a Facebook page where you can view photos and videos that show the barn, horses and the surrounding countryside.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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