Hopes Through Horses Open Barn to raise awareness

Deborah Rocha, Executive Director of SRD Straightening Reins feeds eight-year-old rescued mustang, Mia a carrot at the new facility in Agua Dulce on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

SRD~Straightening Reins, an equine therapy ranch, is hosting a Hopes Through Horses Open Barn on Saturday, April 27, with the help of the event’s co-sponsor, Redemption Road K9, a working dog company.

“It’s really about getting awareness out there for the services we provide to improve adolescent and teen mental health,” said Deborah Rocha, executive director of Straightening Reins.

There will be food, drinks, music, face painting, games and guest speakers from both centers as well as special guest, Olympian Norris Frederick.

Frederick, a USA track and field medal-winning long jumper, is on a “goodwill journey” around the world with the aim of promoting the mental well-being and empowerment of youth.

“A lot of people wait until it’s too late to help the youth, but this is an organization that sees the power in prevention before it gets to that point,” Frederick said. “It’s a really good cause, so I’m excited to be a part of something like this.”

Both the Straightening Reins’ team of professionals and teens in the program will be in attendance to share with guests what happens at the ranch.

Guests will also be able to meet the SRD therapy herd, which includes five horses, two miniature donkeys, two goats and nine chickens, as well as some of Redemption Road’s experienced service dogs, which will all be giving a demonstration on some of their therapy duties.

Roxie Bradford,11, right, grooms rescued horses Jax, left, and Mia at SRD Straightening Reins’ new facility in Agua Dulce on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

Rocha is excited to team up with Redemption Road and says their paths crossed for a bigger purpose.

“It became quite apparent that we’ve got similar missions,” Rocha said. “The goal is giving back to the community and getting at-risk youth to know that they have options, and both Redemption Road and Norris Frederick wanted to help share that mission and educate others.”

The event is free to attend, but donations are welcome. Anyone who donates will be given tickets that will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win an array of prizes including signed sports memorabilia.

All the proceeds will go toward Straightening Reins’ equine-assisted therapy programs.

“Hopefully people come out to learn about these programs and are then able to utilize these great community resources,” said John Anthony, director of training at Redemption Road K9.

The Hopes Through Horses Open Barn is scheduled Saturday, April 27, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Straightening Reins ranch located at 13668 Davenport Road in Agua Dulce.

For more information about the event, visit www.srdstraighteningreins.org/ or call 661-803-1641.

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