Staffing firm Express Employment Professionals and Carousel Ranch teamed up Friday to host a fundraiser at the local nonprofit equestrian-therapy facility, which gave families a chance to visit with the Express Clydesdales.
The Express Clydesdales walked in the Pasadena Rose Parade on Wednesday morning, and arrived in the SCV this week still adorned with flowers and fruits from the New Year’s festivities.
“There’s been hundreds and hundreds of people here since an hour and a half before it opened,” said Denise Redmond, executive director at Carousel Ranch, which offers therapeutic and community outreach for those with special needs.
Once the event started, a line formed with people waiting to take pictures with the horses, who are originally from Yukon, Oklahoma. The Clydesdales stand over 6 feet tall and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.
Complimentary barbecue food was offered, along with fun games like corn hole and box hockey.
At the event, guests could bid in silent auctions and purchase tickets to be entered into different raffles. All funds raised at the event went toward Carousel Ranch.
“Today’s event is to raise awareness and charity,” said Yvonne Rockwell, local owner of Express Employment Professionals. “We are very strong believers in giving back to the communities which support us. Carousel Ranch has been a passion project for me for over three years.”
Express also helped a horse, EX Decker’s Nash, find a home at Carousel Ranch. Rockwell and her husband gifted the horse to the facility.
“He’s going to be trained as (a) therapy horse, and change the lives of many children in the future,” said Redmond.
Nash wasn’t shy for his first public appearance Friday, welcoming love and affection from visitors.
Rockwell also saw the event as a demonstration of the nonprofit’s merits, such as the help from attendees of Carousel Ranch’s Ready to Work program, which focuses on preparing for employment opportunities.
“After they complete their 12-week program (at Carousel Ranch), they come here to our office, and we interview them and give them tips,” said Rockwell.
“Today there are seven of those students working the event today,” she said, “that will be earning a paycheck.”