National Ability Center readies annual barn party |

National Ability Center readies annual barn party

The National Ability Center staff is hoping that old and young alike will kick up their heels for line dancing, arts and crafts, barbecue, facility tours and an equestrian demonstration during the annual Barn Party on Saturday.

The National Ability Center (NAC), is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs.

The Barn Party will celebrate the NAC’s equestrian and spring and summer programs, said Julia Rametta, event manager for the National Ability Center.

"It will raise money and people will get the opportunity to meet our horses and see a riding demonstration from participants in the program," Rametta said to The Park Record. "The Equestrian program is one of the largest programs we have other than the ski and snowboard programs. Those who join the party will learn about the history of the program and the different backgrounds of the horses."

The NAC offers three different forms of Equine Assisted Activities or Therapy (EAAT). They are:

  • Adaptive Horseback Riding
  • Hippotherapy, which is basically physical, occupational and speech therapy that utilizes the movements of a horse to provide motor and sensory input.
  • Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL)

    All of these sessions, managed by Marci Bender, take place six days a week throughout the year in the 17,000-square-foot indoor arena and barn, Rametta said.

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    "A lot of the group lessons, in particular the EFL, are done with the Wounded Warrior Project and other military groups that come through," she said. "This summer, as it’s been in the past summers, we have groups scheduled back to back to back."

    A week ago, the NAC staff, Rametta included, participated in an EFL session.

    "It was cool to see first-hand what they do in these groups," she said. "We got to see how horses react to each other and learned about their body language and how they responded to us as a group. It taught us a lot about how humans communicate with each other."

    In addition to the equestrian demonstration, the barn party will feature a barbecue, line dancing, and many kids activities including arts and crafts, face painting, a petting zoo, a bounce house, buckaroo parade and a photo booth.

    "We’re hoping everyone from kids to adults will come dressed in Western gear," Rametta said. "We’ll provide bandanas for the kids and they can participate in the parade just before the line dancing."

    The event will also feature a mechanical bull, tours of the facility and a silent auction.

    "Some of the auction items include horseback-riding trips, cowboy boots, horse-training certificates, hotel stays, hot-air balloon rides, kids camps and the Utah Olympic Park," Rametta said. "Our committee did an awesome job gathering these items."

    The Barn Party sponsors are Ernst & Young, High West, Bandits Grill & Bar, the O’Brien family and Swire Coca-Cola.

    "This is such a fun and family-friendly event," Rametta said. "So we hope people will come and celebrate with us."

    The National Ability Center, 1000 Ability Way at Quinn’s Junction, will host its annual barn party on Saturday, June 7, from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is an opportunity for the public to celebrate the NAC staff, volunteers and the successes. There will be activities the entire family can enjoy, including delicious food, plenty of dancing and riding demonstrations. Admission is $40 for adults and $20 for children ages 10 and older and $5 for children younger than 10. For more information, visit .