CHIPPEWA FALLS (WLAX) — Dozens of people were in Chippewa Falls Saturday for a one of a kind horse show that included everything from choreographed routines and bedazzled horses.
What makes Friendship Farm Dressage Derby extra special is that it is a chance for riders with developmental and cognitive delays to show what they have learned over the summer, according to Rebecca Meinen who works at the farm and helped put the show together.
“Everybody who’s a part of our clientele either has cognitive or developmental delays, so it’s kind of a special thing in that aspect because there’s not many that I know of that have horse shows that are run for those, she said. “They’ve been working all summer to be ready for this event, and they’re really excited.”
Family and friends came out to show their support for the riders Saturday.
“It’s such a community that comes together here, and it’s just inspiring to watch,” Meinen said.
Pat and Jill Carroll, owners of Friendship Farms, have been providing opportunities for people with disabilities for more than 15 years. They said by working with the animals, clients learn everything from vocational skills to soft skills like cooperation and appropriate interaction with others.
The Carrolls noted that it is hard work, but it pays off.
“They are so excited, and this is such a big deal,” Jill said, noting that the students would forgo opportunities to go trail riding, “which is so important to everybody,” to practice for the show.
The Carrolls started their farm after retiring, and not they are getting ready to pass the torch to Meinen.
“I’m actually in the process of making this mine, so it’s realy exciting,” Meinen said.
She hopes to continue providing opportunities like Saturday’s show for years to come.