Discover Horses This Summer

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Horses4Heroes, one of the most successful equestrian service groups for the military and 2014 champion of the American Horse Council's Time to Ride 100-Day Challenge, is encouraging locals and visitors to discover horses this summer and support the non-profit in its quest to repeat as champion in 2016.

Horses4Heroes has an exciting schedule of events, all at its flagship facility, the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, located within historic Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs in Las Vegas, including 12 weeks of summer camp, Friday night Happy Hour with horses, horseback riding every Saturday and Sunday, trail rides, and the annual National Day of the Cowboy Open House. The organization that introduces the most newcomers to horses in 100 days will win $10,000, the grand prize. All men, women and children who ride and/or meet a horse for the first time between June 1 and September 30 will be counted.

Those interested in participating in events at the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, will be directed to The Trail of Painted Ponies web site at www.paintedponies.com. Here they will complete all necessary paperwork, receive a 20% coupon, and be entered to win a Patriotic Painted Ponies figurine. One figurine will be awarded each month, June through September. The winner will be drawn from those who registered during that month.

“The Trail is proud to partner with Horses4Heroes,” said Rod Barker, founder of The Trail of Painted Ponies. “There could be no more deserving organization, dedicated to giving back to those who deserve it most.”

"Introducing new people to horses is what we do best," said Sydney Knott, president and founder of Las Vegas-based Horses4Heroes. "We have built a national organization, and our reputation, on introducing people to horses, especially service members, veterans, First Responders, school teachers and nurses and their families."

Since 2012, when Horses4Heroes launched Operation Free Ride for returning combat veterans, more than 20,000 men, women and children have discovered horses, horseback riding and the healing power of horses!

New this summer at the Las Vegas headquarters facility is 5 O'Clock Friday, a family friendly "happy hour" with horses. Every Friday from 4 pm to 7:30, the non-profit will be offering horse rides, water slide, visit with barnyard animals and hay ride, all for just $5 for riders 2 and older. The organization will continue $5 Fridays, Friday mornings from 9 to 11 am.

Saturday and Sunday mornings, Horses4Heroes will continue its popular weekend "Ride A Horse" activity, by offering rides from 9 am to Noon. The cost is $10 for ages 6 and older and $5 for riders 2 to 5. Weight limit for all riding activities is 225 pounds. All rides include a visit with barnyard animals and a bounce house. Hay ride park tours are $5 per person, children 2 and under are free.

Also this summer, Horses4Heroes will be offering trail rides in the park, the first and third weekend, Friday-Sunday, throughout the summer. Thirty-minute trail rides on Fridays, starting at 4 pm, are $30 per person, riders 8 and older (250 pound weight limit). Saturdays and Sundays, the first ride goes out at 8 am. One hour rides are $50 per person. To register email events@horses4heroes.org.

Twelve weeks of summer camp fun began Monday, June 6, for children ages 4 to 12, every day, 8 am to 5:30 pm. Each morning campers enjoy Horse 101, ranch chores and time in the barnyard and afternoon activities include arts and crafts, hiking, tumbling, fishing, soccer, horse shoes, and hiking. Campers visit the Texas Station Hotel & Casino every Wednesday for a fun-filled morning of bowling, KidsQuest and The Feast buffet and on Friday afternoons, a water slide takes over the corral. The cost per week is $200 or $150 per week for more than one child or more than one week of camp. Additional fees include a $50 non-refundable registration fee, and $20 for the out camp. Lunch is provided on Fridays. Horses4Heroes members (Active Duty military, veterans, First Responders, school teachers and nurses) pay just $100 per camper per week.

The highlight of the summer is the annual National Day of the Cowboy Open House, Saturday, July 23. "This event supports the preservation of America’s cowboy and our pioneer heritage," said Ms. Knott. Activities include making butter in The Old Dairy Barn, face painting, visit with barnyard animals, panning for gold, dummy roping competition, and horseback rides.

"These programs are opening our wonderful world of horses to men, women and their children who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. With thousands of troops returning home, programs like Operation Free Ride are important to PTS sufferers, Wounded Warriors, caregivers and their families," Knott added.

For information on all programs, email events@horses4heroes.org or follow the organization on Facebook, "Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center."

Horses4Heroes is seeking sponsors to defray costs of its summer activities. All proceeds support operations of the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian, which is home to 20 horses, and a barnyard filled with goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, two miniature donkeys, a lamb, Alpaca, Llama and a miniature steer. The non-profit provides low-cost recreational and instructional activities and free weekly life skills workshops for veterans with PTS, domestic violence victims, recovering addicts (teens and adults), at-risk youth and foster children. Current sponsors include South Point Hotel & Casino, Hollywood Charity Horse Show, and Wrangler National Patriot.

Time to Ride

The Time to Ride Challenge was created by the American Horse Council's Marketing Alliance. Since 2014, the Challenge has introduced over 60,000 people to horses through first-time horse experiences with the support and involvement of hundreds of stables, clubs and equine businesses nationwide. “Hosts” plan engaging, hands-on horse events designed to connect families interested in horses to opportunities in their area such as riding lessons, camps, and trail rides. By reaching a new segment of their community, businesses add to their own client base while supporting the entire horse industry.

“It’s critically important to the future of the horse community to focus on welcoming new participants,” stated Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokesperson. “The Challenge gives rewards and recognition to the hardworking horse professionals who are doing the valuable work of teaching new people the very basics and giving them a path to grow into lifelong equestrians. Without those riding instructors, summer camps, and youth leaders who are teaching kids how to ride, where does our next generation of owners, competitors, and breeders come from?”

The Challenge will award $100,000 cash and prizes and take place June 1st through September 30th. Registration is free and available now at www.timetoride.com.

The American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance

The AHC Marketing Alliance is made up of the following organizations: the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, the American Quarter Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Farnam, Merck, Merial, Morris Media Network Equine Group, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, the American Paint Horse Association, Equibrand, the National Cutting Horse Association, the National Reining Horse Association, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and the Texas A&M University Equine Initiative, I-5 Publishing, Pyranha, the America’s Mustang Campaign, and Colorado State University Equine Sciences Program.

Horses4Heroes

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016, Horses4Heroes is the nation's premier non-profit equestrian support group for the military, veterans, First Responders and their families. The organization operates its flagship facility, the Horses4Heroes Community Equestrian Center, located within Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs. For more information, visit www.theranchlasvegas.com or call 702-645-8446.