First annual Gobble 'Til You Wobble

Alexandra Gallagher and Alissa Wolbeck from Delta Zeta sorority of Minnesota State University of Moorhead volunteered at the Hoof Beats for Healing fundraiser.

Hoof Beats for Healing held its first annual fundraiser – Gobble ‘Til You Wobble – Saturday, Nov. 23 in Rothsay, Minnesota to raise money for its mission of providing equine-assisted therapy to community members.

The benefit held a spaghetti dinner, dance and silent auction. Approximately 120-150 attended, bringing in $3,500 with continuing donations.

“We had so many individuals and groups that attended that want to make us bigger every year. They heard stories from kids that are part of the program and they were touched from the work we are doing. That was the best feeling,” Ashley Thompson, therapist and business owner of Birchwood Psychological Center, said. “For our first year, it was wonderful.”

“The funds we raised, can now provide about 100 therapy sessions. It’s phenomenal and we are so excited about it,” Thompson said. “It was a breath of excitement and we hope the community will see one or two more fundraisers soon.”

Proceeds will help provide their service to children and adults in need of this service. A single large donation was made to specifically go towards rescuing and rehabilitating horses, another service offered.

The silent auction featured many horse related items such as horse halters and blankets, custom rocking horses and numerous donations from businesses in Wahpeton and Breckenridge.

Volunteers from the Delta Zeta sorority of Minnesota State University of Moorhead, candidate for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District Dave Hughes and Richland-Wilkin County 4-H members helped the event run smoothly, Thompson said.

Thompson approached Lori and Victor Ricigliano about beginning this organization after hearing that some of her counseling clients were taking traditional horseback riding lessons at their farm. Thompson had been doing animal-assisted therapy with her dog for a while and wanted to expand it into equine therapy.

“They loved the idea and they have so much horse experience,” Thompson said. “We came together and started offering equine therapy. It was a hit and we knew we had to do more.”

“A lot of research now shows that when a horse is working with a human, their heartbeat will match that person’s heartbeat as they are working together and that just shows that the connection of their relationship goes so much deeper,” Thompson said. “It’s a beautiful connection because they can work with each other to keep each other safe.”

Hoof Beats for Healing is a non-profit organization based in Wolverton that provides equine-assisted therapy programs with licensed certified counselors. The organization’s main purpose is to assist those in the community with emotional and physical disabilities such as anxiety, depression, abuse, trauma and autism, through equine therapy. Hoof Beats is a partnership between Rick Ricigliano Farms and Birchwood Counseling.

The organization intends to continue this event every year in November and move it closer to the community.

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