SpiritHorse benefits from Liberty County trail ride

Samantha Pickett (center right) presents $4,182 to Donna Wiebelhaus, executive director of SpiritHorse Liberty. The money is the proceeds of a trail ride that Pickett organized with the help of other volunteers.

SpiritHorse Liberty, a Liberty County non-profit that uses horse therapy to connect with special-needs children and adults, received a much-needed donation of $4,182 on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from Sam’s Annual Trail Ride that took place last weekend in the Moss Hill area.

Organized by Moss Hill residents Samantha and Ernie Pickett, the trail ride was created after the annual TVE trail ride was canceled. Samantha Pickett said she felt a need to provide an event for trail ride enthusiasts in lieu of the canceled trail ride.

“I have gone on trail rides since I was in the third grade. My grandkids love it, too,” she said.

For a first-time trail ride, the number of participating riders is proof that the trail ride is of interest in the community.

“We had nine wagons and more than 100 adult paid riders turn out, not counting all the kids who rode,” she said.

The entry fees, coupled with $3,000 raised through an auction at the event, provided the $4,182 after expenses that was donated to SpiritHorse Liberty.

Donna Wiebelhaus, the executive director of SpiritHorse and a retired Dayton ISD teacher, said the money will be used to provide feed and hay to the horses through the winter. Costs have been up this year for the horses’ care, so the donation is timely.

“I have had more vet bills in the last year and a half than in the last 50 years,” Wiebelhaus said.

As a non-profit, SpiritHorse Liberty relies on donations and grants to provide the therapeutic riding center. While a major focus of the organization is special-needs folks, Wiebelhaus said SpiritHorse Liberty also provides riding lessons to children for a $30 donation to the charity.

Two sessions are offered each year – one in the spring and another in the fall. SpiritHorse Liberty also is expanding to two other locations – Jasper and Dayton. The Dayton location will be off of Wolf Road (off of FM 1960) at the Liberty-Harris county line.

“They are building the arena for that location now. We will still need a tack room. We are also looking for a bigger arena to travel to on Fridays. I have a drill team that needs an area to practice,” she said.

For more information on SpiritHorse Liberty, go online to https://spirithorseliberty.org/ To make a donation to SpiritHorse Liberty, click on the “Sponsors and Donations” tab on the website.

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