Emma VanZutphen and Tria were showing horse riding fans all that Reaching Strides Equestrian Centre has to offer during National Horse Day on June 1.

PORT HOOD: National Horse Day, which took place on June 1, saw all sorts of foot traffic at Reaching Strides Equestrian Centre, and the ability to educate folks about horses is something that left a big smile on the face of owner and operator, Nadine Bollig.

“It’s all about celebrating the national day of the horse,” she told The Reporter, as she welcomed visitors to the stables that bright and sunny Saturday afternoon.

“We have a couple of demonstrations; we have a canteen set up, and an information table. We have two stations where kids can either learn the parts of the horse or learn how to groom a horse. And we have a few horses in the barn that they can go in and give a pat to.

“We’ll be topping it all off with pony and wagon rides.”

Photos by Grant McDaniel — Making the rounds at Reaching Strides Equestrian Centre’s track were Margaret MacDonald and Domino.

One of the highlights for visitors was a jumping demonstration where three riders — Margaret MacDonald, Gracie VanZutphen, and Emma VanZutphen – take the horses through the Reaching Strides track.

Thirty-seven horses are stabled at Reaching Strides, but far more visitors than that number showed up for Horse Day. Donations were taken at the door for a new project that, should Bollig be successful, will benefit not only her business but the community in general.

“What we’re trying to do right now is fundraise to erect an indoor riding arena,” she said, noting that weather in Cape Breton is always a challenge.

“We’d like to add in therapy programs, and in order to do that, you need to be able to be consistent – where you aren’t cancelling every other day due to the weather. Having things indoor is a must.”

Nevaeh Martell and Dunmore’s Mystic Sailor were enjoying the good weather on June 1. Money raised at horse day went toward building an indoor arena at Reaching Strides Equestrian Centre so the facility can host equine therapy sessions.

Fewer distractions can be found indoors as well, she said, and there are privacy issues in addition to that.

Some of the programs would be a help to people suffering in terms of physical ailments like MS, cerebral palsy, and lyme disease. With that, some programs would be aimed at people people with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

“We’re waiting on funding and looking to turn the business into a social enterprise system so that we can run the therapy sessions as not-for-profit,” Bollig explained. “That way, they’d be open to anyone who needs the sessions not just those who can pay.”

While the therapy programs might be a little way off, there are numerous other programs available at Reaching Strides. Newcomers are always welcome, Bollig said, noting she can be reached at 902-870-1583 or at: reaching_strides2000@hotmail.com.

Gracie VanZutphen and Chester were showing crowds at the Port Hood stables some big jumps.