SIRE’s 35th year was marked with this year’s gala “Under the Stars” benefiting SIRE Therapeutic Horsemanship in its mission to transform the lives of people with special needs through horse therapy and the powerful connection between horse and human. To mark the nonprofit’s 35th year, the event honored Jana and Scotty Arnoldy, who have given their time and energies to many Houston-area nonprofit organizations by chairing events, leading fundraising activities and volunteering. With an affinity for horses, the Arnoldy’s share SIRE’s recognition of the benefits the horse and human relationship can have on an individual. Carol and Jim Farnsworth and Mary Elizabeth Wise Sand served as co-chairs for the fundraiser.
Nathaniel Hunter, who started riding at SIRE 30 years ago at age 8, was recognized as having trained with SIRE longer than any other rider. His mother describes Nathaniel’s work with SIRE as having released him from “the isolation of autism.” When he began riding, Nathaniel found it extremely difficult to stay seated in a chair without help and was focused only on his world. Over time in working with SIRE, he learned to ride a bike, complete homes chores and have a job at a nursery organizing plants. An excellent horseman, Nathaniel, now 38, rides independently. Trophies and medals cram the shelves and walls of his room at home from competitions like Special Olympics and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s Top Hands event. He also volunteers at SIRE.
SIRE’s specially trained horses—both full size and miniature—were onsite to greet and interact with event guests. Attendees were decked out in western chic attire and danced the night away to the music of Aaron McDonnell.
Celebrating 35 years, SIRE serves adults and children with a wide variety of special needs including, cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, multiple sclerosis, developmental delay, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Proceeds from this event will provide critical support for the riding programs, build desperately needed facilities, and help to maintain the health of their specially trained horses used daily for children with special needs.
This is such a special cause and gala!!