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CCF grant helps more people stay in the saddle at Victory Therapeutic in Roanoke

CCF grant helps more people stay in the saddle at Victory Therapeutic in Roanoke

 

 

By Darreck Kirby

Victory Therapeutic in Roanoke is an equestrian therapy center that offers equine-assisted services and hippotherapy for individuals with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities and challenges. They teach riders to set goals and work toward them, forming bonds with the horses they ride and healing the wounds not seen.

“We feel like it's really important for them to engage,” said Becky Rasbeary, the Managing Director of Development at Victory. “A lot of our riders are either ADHD or on the spectrum somewhere, and just making those friendships, making those connections [is important].”

Over the last two years, Victory Therapeutic has seen the number of weekly riders increase by 267 percent. Considering the immense stress of the times, that might not necessarily be shocking, but it is impressive.

“We started noticing a tremendous–I mean the phone was just ringing, ringing, ringing. ‘Can you help? Can you help? Can you help?’” Becky recalled. “In June 2020, we were at 43 riders, and as of March 2022, we’re at 115.”

The center not only helps riders learn to navigate mental and emotional struggles but physical ones as well. Victory focuses heavily on physical therapy, seeing numerous clients who are diagnosed with ailments such as cerebral palsy, scoliosis, and autism. Riders are even able to perform their exercises on horseback with horses specifically trained for physical therapy.

“We’re able to meet them where they are. We’ve got such an amazing group of instructors, and they all really specialize in different things… I mean, that’s one thing that we are extremely diverse in, the disabilities that we serve.”

The Horses 4 Heroes program at Victory works with the Wounded Warrior Project helping provide scholarships for those who have served while addressing the many challenges that arise for veterans who have suffered trauma in the line of duty. The program helps them to adjust physically and emotionally in their post-war lives.

Another benefit of the program is that riders pay just $12 per week, with the rest covered by the scholarships. It’s just another way Victory gives back to its community to make a difference.

As a nonprofit, Victory depends on grants and fundraising events. When the pandemic began and they saw the increased demand for their services, they applied for a CoServ Charitable Foundation grant, which helped fund scholarships for 10 families and 83 riding sessions that year. This year, they were awarded a second Operation Roundup Grant for 2022.

The organization also raises its own funds. Victory Therapeutic’s biggest fundraiser of the year, “Road to Victory” is scheduled for October 15 and typically raises anywhere from $75,000 to $85,000. The event includes dinner, music, a live auction, and a raffle, and gives attendees a chance to meet Victory’s riders and stable of 16 horses. 

Victory is accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), an international association that upholds the highest standards of therapeutic riding and operation.

“All of our instructors have to be PATH certified therapeutic riding instructors, so they have to get and renew their certifications every two years,” Becky said. “We hold our staff and our horses and our facility to a higher standard.”

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