Horses4Heroes' Operation Free Ride Rodeo Riding Into Cowboy Christmas During the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo

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Wrapping up its most successful year yet, Horses4Heroes will be giving free horseback rides to local service members, veterans, survivors and their families in the Cowboy Christmas Fan Fest Arena, Saturday, Dec. 14, 1-2:30 p.m. Free t-shirts and gift bags will be given out to "free riders" while supplies last and all participants will be entered to win the collectible figurine by The Trail of Painted Ponies' "First Comes Freedom."

According to Sydney Knott, president/founder of the Las Vegas-based non-profit corporation, Horses4Heroes has given thousands of free horseback rides this year to military men, women and their children throughout the country, either by appointment at affiliate equestrian centers or at PRCA rodeos and horse shows, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, River City Rodeo in Omaha and the Pinto World Championship Show in Tulsa. Operation Free Ride, a program created to introduce returning combat veterans to the healing and recreational benefits of horses, was launched in Las Vegas during Helldorado Days 2012. Operation Free Ride in the Cowboy Christmas Fan Fest Arena is the finale for the year.

CNN featured Operation Free Ride in a "Health Minute" segment aired on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, and articles about the program have been featured in American Cowboy and Horse Illustrated.

To raise funds for Operation Free Ride, Horses4Heroes will be participating in two major fund-raising events during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, "Buck 4 A Buck" and a Silent Auction. Buck 4 A Buck, a promotion at The Rock House at The Venetian and the PBR Rock Bar Cafe, Planet Hollywood, will raise $1 from every $5 mechanical bull ride and, on Dec. 11, "Patriots Night," Horses4Heroes will receive 100% of the proceeds. In the Fan Fest at Cowboy Christmas, Horses4Heroes will receive proceeds from a five-day Silent and Live Auction, which includes items from C-A-L Ranch, Kensington Protective Products, Michael E Minden Jewelers, Dale Chavez Saddles, Smith Bros Western Wear, Uncommon Flag Poles, Gist Silversmith, Trail of Painted Ponies, Horse Tales for the Soul, Masterpiece Investments, as well as autographed items from NFR contestants, rodeo queens and Country Western Artist Toby Keith.

Horses4Heroes is the only Las Vegas-based, national non-profit equestrian service organization for the military, veterans, First Responders and their families. Through its growing national network, the organization provides affordable (sometimes free) recreational, instructional and morale-boosting health & wellness equestrian programs for all ages, all riding levels and in all disciplines. For more information, visit www.horses4heroes.org, follow on Facebook or call 702.645.8446.