Indoor riding arena

Buckboard Academy celebrates 25 years of helping children | Local

The Buckboard Therapeutic Riding Academy has been helping children in need for 25 years and the organization is hosting a community open house to celebrate their silver anniversary.

The event will take place on Saturday, August 20 at the academy’s riding school at 140500 S. 14e St. in Gering. It will last from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Really. we just bring together our former volunteers, our former riders, current and past staff, board members. Anyone who is part of the Buckboard family, whether in that capacity or as a sponsor, donor, supporter…can come together and celebrate 25 years of horses serving children,” said instructor Makinzie Gregory.

The event will have an after-hours business atmosphere, she said, with cupcakes and punch, meet-and-greets and presentations so people can meet those involved with the academy and get together. remember his story.

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Kathy Gatch founded Buckboard Academy in August 1997. Since then, the quality of service she provides has grown exponentially.

“I really didn’t think we would go more than five or 10 years. It was something new in this area and new for me too,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but we were blessed with the help of the community and we were able to help a lot of kids.”

The Buckboard Academy offers equestrian therapy for children with mental, physical or behavioral disabilities. Each child has an action plan, objectives to achieve and is offered beneficial activities taking into account their specific disability.

To celebrate a quarter of a century of helping those in need, the community is invited to an open day in the academy’s covered riding arena.

This Gering location is where Buckboard Academy has held its sessions for the past three years, except during the pandemic. Having an indoor location was one of Gatch’s longtime goals since the academy’s inception.

Academy staff held a similar open house when the building opened.

Previously, children rode in an old cattle corral.

“It worked really well, except we could only ride on days when there was no rain or on days when the wind wasn’t so bad that you couldn’t see where you were going because of the dirt,” she said.

“We work with children from toddlers up to, oh, 18 or 19; it depends on their weight because horses are old and like us, when they get older their backs get weaker,” Gatch said.

At first, the academy also helped some adults with multiple sclerosis, but Gatch and his board had to consider whether to focus on children and adults or just put more emphasis on the helping children.

“We’ve decided that the kids are just starting to come into their lives, and anything we can do might help them live more comfortably and maybe help them overcome some of the issues they have,” he said. she declared.

At one time the academy was open daily and helped around 150 children each summer. Gatch said they scaled things down to spend more time with each child.

“It’s very important that you take the time to visit a child and help them have fun,” she said. “…Every time you see a child on horseback and they make progress, even if it’s nothing more than a big smile on their face, it really touches you. It’s all worth the time and effort you put into it.

The academy will also announce the winner of a raffle at the open day. The winner of the raffle will receive an Uberti 1860 Colt. .45 long rifle. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased by contacting the academy at 308-672-6313 or by visiting a board member.

A maximum of 250 tickets will be sold and participants do not need to be present at the open house to win.

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