Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center Serving all individuals with unique abilities and health needs

A Busy Spring at Ivy Hill!

A Busy Spring at Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Though the spring weather was slow to arrive this year, things were not slow at Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Perkasie, Pennsylvania.  As March became April and then May, Ivy Hill was busy with a number of annual events.

Ivy Hill’s first event was their 12th Annual Silent Auction and Silent Auction 2018Dinner, which took place on Saturday March 31st, at Lansdale’s beautiful Pinecrest Country Club.  The silent auction drew a lot of attention with five different tables broken down into separate areas of interest and filled with tempting items.

The five tables included Art and Photography, Something for Everyone, Wine and Beer, Sports and Outdoors and the popular Date Night Table.  The silence disappeared as the live auction turned from lively competition to bidding wars for some very popular items.  The biggest battle ensued over a “behind-the-scenes” Washington, DC Capitol Tour with Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.

As the dust settled from the auction and guests finished their meals while being serenaded by the acoustic strings of Jamie Stem, we were all reminded of why we were there.  A member of Will Lavery’s family shared some stories of Will’s experience as an Ivy Hill rider and what therapeutic riding has meant to Will and his whole family.  Suellen Hanks took the floor next and gave a powerful and moving talk about the unexpected benefits of being a volunteer at Ivy Hill.

We will be back again next year for another evening of food and drink, sharing of stories from Ivy Hill and a chance for people to have another crack at a winning auction bid

Next up was the 4th Annual Kentucky Derby Gala, “Horse, Hats and Hope held at Ivy Hill on Derby Day, May 5th.  As guests enjoyed live music by Tori Roberts, our first annual chili cook-off was launched and made even better with fresh Mint Juleps.  Other events included the Annual “Best Hat” and “Best Bow-Tie” contests and the ever-popular goat races – though goat coaxing might be a more accurate description.   This was all leading up to the premier event – where Justify won the 144th Run for the Roses live from Churchill Downs and viewed on a large screen television, which was set up inside Ivy Hill’s beautiful indoor arena.

Proceeds from both events will benefit the care of Ivy Hill’s horses, as well as, the therapeutic riding programs that enhance the lives of individuals with physical, social, educational and/or psychological challenges.

Ivy Hill’s Spring Home Horse Show, was the third event of the spring and the  first of two such events held each year in the spring and fall.  Riders displayed their skills of horsemanship, equitation, dressage and trail classes while interested family members and spectators gathered to watch and cheer them on.  Winners received ribbons and the chance to share what they have accomplished with friends and family.  The chance to participate in a horse show on HorseShow2018home turf will come in handy as we set our sights on shows later in the year.

Visit Ivy Hill’s website at www.ivyhillequestrian.org.



Ivy Hill’s Triple Crown!

Ivy Hill has its own version of Triple Crown events every spring with three important horse shows.

May and June are always exciting for horse lovers but the excitement is really building this spring wondering if we’ll have a new Triple Crown winner on June 9th.  If Justify wins, he will be only the 13th horse to accomplish this feat!  The Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center will be watching and cheering along with everyone else as the 10 horse field steps foot on the track at Belmont Park this Saturday.

Ivy Hill has its own version of Triple Crown events every spring with three important horse shows.  The Thorncroft and Devon shows were held on May 26th and 27th, allowing just a few days before heading off to the Special Olympics at Penn State University.  This presents a rigorous schedule for Ivy Hill’s riders, instructors, volunteers and horses, but they take it all in stride.

The Thorncroft Horse Show was the first leg of our “Triple Crown” series of horse shows.

Ivy Hill took 16 riders and 5 horses to the Thorncroft Show in Malvern, PA where they represented Ivy Hill well. Luckily, there was plenty of room to bring home the many prizes won throughout the 5ThorncroftTrophySml (002)day including 40 ribbons by various riders.  Additionally, Abby Mains brought home the Thorncroft Perpetual Trophy, which was sponsored by Patrick and Michele Boova.  This trophy is awarded to the rider with the highest combined score in walk/trot classes of Equitation, Dressage and Trail in Division III.  The trophy was presented the following day, May 27th at the Devon Horse Show and qualifies her for entry in the National Horse Show later this year.

Fiona Hough was the Reserve Winner for the Thorncroft Trophy and Riley Powell was the Reserve Winner for the MacDermott Trophy.  The MacDermott Perpetual Trophy is sponsored by the MacDermott children and is awarded to the rider with the highest combined score in walk trot or walk trot canter Equitation, Trail, and Dressage in Division II.

39th Annual Therapeutic Riders’ Division of the Devon Horse Show

Held May 27th and sponsored by Brushwood Stables, the prestigious Therapeutic Riders’ Division of the Devon Horse Show brings together 175 riders with special needs to compete in a variety of classes including equitation, dressage, and trail. The weekend HorseShow2018culminates with the award ceremonies for the championship classes, on Memorial Day Sunday, at the famous Devon Horse Show Grounds.  Abby Mains and her mount, Heidi, competed for the Grand Champion of the show, the Hope Montgomery Scott Perpetual Memorial Trophy.

On to State College, Pennsylvania for the Special Olympics

The Special Olympic Games were held May 31st  – June 2nd, and were hosted by Penn State University, where 83 riders and 21 horses, represented 11 different counties in Pennsylvania.

Ivy Hill made the drive from Perkasie to State College with 18 riders, 5 horses, 14 horse handlers, chaperones and coaches so they could participate in 49 different events.  They brought home 9 Gold medals, 9 Silver medals, 11 Bronze medals, and eight 4th place , seven 5th place, four 6th place, and one 7th place ribbons.

It is always nice to bring home a prize but what the riders bring home in their hearts is much more important.   One such story is told in a note sent by a competitor’s mother to Ivy Hill staff following the trip to Penn State.

“I just wanted to thank you and all of your staff and volunteers for all of your hard work putting together and running Special Olympics.  Marcus really enjoyed the weekend.  He was very proud of his accomplishments, he made some friends (he told me his roommate Jonathan is hilarious) and he enjoyed having some independence.  I asked him if he wants to do it again next year and he said ‘Definitely!’”  Ivy Hill really is a special place and I’m so glad that Marcus has found something that he enjoys doing and wants to get better at.  Thank you so much – you guys are amazing!!!!

A letter from Justin Miller’s family following the Special Olympics experience echoes similar comments.

Justin had such an amazing time!  Thank you also for your patience with all my questions and concerns!  Ivy Hill is the most amazing place with the kindest and most helpful people.  His instructor is absolutely amazing and her time and dedication with Justin have been an absolute blessing!!!  And you were right about Dante and Tyler, Justin loved them — he said he now has friends!!!  Makes a mom’s heart happy!!  He says he can’t wait until next year!

So again, thank you!  Love, The Miller’s

Ivy Hill really is a special place for the riders and their families but it’s also special for the people who work there.  We are lucky at Ivy Hill to have a dedicated group of volunteers who give selflessly of their time so that we can help create memories and make dreams come true.  Molla, a volunteer who accompanied the group for the Special Olympics, summed it up –

The self confidence and joy I saw with your riders touched me deeply. To have been the leader during the last event when Evie took gold made me cry. I think I grew from this experience as much as your riders.”

As the Ivy Hill riders, horses, volunteers, instructors, families and friends return home, they will get some well-deserved rest after a busy few weeks.  Many will be watching Justify in his bid for the Triple Crown and it will be a thrill if he wins but if he doesn’t, they know there are more important things than winning.  Trying hard, cheering for your friends, offering words of encouragement and coming back tomorrow or next week or next year to try again is what they’ve learned. “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Since 1999, Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center has been providing equine-assisted activities and therapies for special needs children and adults in Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh and Philadelphia counties.

The mission of Ivy Hill Foundation is to utilize the equine experience in building pathways for personal growth, in strengthening supporting relationships and in broadening community involvement for individuals with special needs. To sponsor a horse or a rider, to make a donation or for more information, visit our website at www.ivyhillequestrian.org.

The Acelity Foundation Sponsors Children With Cancer for Summer Camp!

The Acelity Foundation has awarded $5,000 to Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center allowing children diagnosed with cancer to attend the 2018 Ride-A-Stride for Hope Summer Camp.

Because of a $5,000 grant from the Acelity Foundation (formerly Servant’s Heart), twelve children will be able to spend a week of fun at the Ride-A-Stride for Hope Summer Camp at Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Perkasie, PA.   For six weeks each summer, Ivy Hill’s Inclusion Summer Camp provides a unique, integrated experience for children of all levels of ability and development to learn horsemanship and riding skills.

One of these weeks is dedicated to children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  The camp provides a rare, non-clinical environment for the children and their families to escape their normal routine by offering a safe environment of peace, solace and relief of stress.

The children will attend the weeklong camp where they will learn how to care for a horse and build riding skills.  Other activities will include games for building social skills, using their creativity while making tie-dye shirts and playing games to promote team-building.  Other highlights will include an ice cream social, a carriage drive, a therapy dog visit and a horse show.

The camp will be held August 6 – 10, 2018 at Ivy Hill Therapeutic Equestrian Center, which is located at 1811 Mill Road in Perkasie, PA.