Collegiate Horsemen Treat THON Children to Horse Rides
Posted: March 6, 2012
Liz Walker, CHAPS member, oversees the grooming of "Scooter" by two children getting their wish of riding a horse as part of the THON wishes program
The Collegiate Horsemen at Penn State (CHAPS) club had the honor this year to be involved with the THON Wishes program, part of the widely acknowledged Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON), which raises money for the Penn State Hershey Four Diamonds Fund. The Fund offers support for patients and families who are experiencing childhood cancer as well as supporting cancer research. The wishes program fulfills "wishes" of Four Diamond Fund families, ranging from meeting Penn State football players to cheerleading with the squad to touring the Berkey Creamery.
This year, five children wished to go horseback riding. CHAPS, a student club within Penn State's Department of Dairy and Animal Science (DAS), in association with Nancy Maier's Hands On Therapeutic Riding, granted these wishes. On Saturday of THON weekend, the children and their families went to Hands on Therapeutic Riding, Port Matilda, to have their wishes fulfilled.
Before the children from THON arrived, ten CHAPS members helped to get the barn and horses ready for the big day. CHAPS members greeted the children at the farm and showed them how to groom Scooter, one of horses used in the therapeutic riding program. This was very exciting to many of the children who had never touched a horse before. After the horses were saddled and ready to go, each child was led around the indoor arena with CHAPS members at their side. The success of the event was seen by the enormous smiles of all the children.
Liz Walker, animal sciences major, Danville, served as publicity chair for the event, and said that it was a wonderful way for CHAPS members to experience the whole THON atmosphere. "We had a great deal of satisfaction in being able to interact with the kids during the program. Being hands-on was rewarding to all of us." Walker assisted with two riders, one of whom had horses at her home, and whose spirits were very high as she rode the therapeutic horse. Another very shy girl who had never ridden a horse smiled the whole time she was riding, Walker said.
The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, known as THON, has been committed to raising funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer for 34 years. This year they raised over $10,686,924, a record. It is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
CHAPS members participate in many community service projects, including therapeutic riding programs and THON. For further information, contact Dr. Ann Macrina, club advisor (ALM106@psu.edu, 814-863-4202).