National Ability Center’s Barn Party is sold out, but the public can still participate in an online auction |

National Ability Center’s Barn Party is sold out, but the public can still participate in an online auction

Bidding runs from June 18-27

The National Ability Center's annual Barn Party raises funds for its equestrian program. This year's party is sold out, but the public can still participate and donate through an online auction from June 18-27, or by sponsoring a horse and rider.
Photo by Bailey Edelstein/National Ability Center

The National Ability Center’s Barn Party fundraiser scheduled for June 26 is sold out, but the public can still participate in a couple of virtual offerings to help raise money for the nonprofit’s equestrian program, said CEO Dan Glasser.

One of the ways is through an online auction that opens on June 18 and runs through June 27, according to Glasser.

Some of the auction items include special events packages and restaurant gift cards, and Glasser is grateful for the people and organizations that have donated items.

“We have some great items, and it’s a testament to our community that we have such a diverse selection of contributions and gifts that go and support our programs,” he said. “One of the great things of being in Park City is that there always seems to be an untapped capacity for people to step up and give.”

Another way the public can support the NAC’s equestrian program is to sponsor a horse and rider at

“Our equestrian program serves such a diverse population,” Glasser said. “We have folks with autism, we have people who are learning how to walk post a traumatic injury. And having horses is critical in terms of how transformative the program can be.”

The NAC’s equestrian program offers three different activities — adaptive horseback riding; equine assisted learning; and hippotherapy, an occupational and speech therapy program.

“I have a nephew who was born with hydrocephalus, which is water on the brain, and we use physical therapy to help him learn how to walk,” Glasser said. “The gait with the horse went a long way to help him build core strength and figuring out the pacing and the process of walking.”

The equestrian programs, which have been part of the National Ability Center’s curriculum for more than 30 years, helps participants build confidence by building a relationship of trust with a horse, Glasser said.

“To see someone interact with an animal of that size is priceless,” he said. “My son has autism, and it’s hard for him sometimes to connect with his peers. But animals like horses help him maneuver through challenging social dynamics, and that’s an important validation for him.”

Glasser believes the community’s lover of the NAC is the reason why the Barn Party tickets sold out.

“I think people enjoy what we offer at the NAC, because our mission is important to our community,” he said. “I also think that after the past year, we all want to get back together, and this is the first big event that will take the community off the Zoom calls.”

Still, Glasser said the National Ability Center will continue taking a conservative approach when it comes to following COVD-19 protocols.

“It feels like we’re on our way out of the pandemic, but we’re not done,” he said. “We need to be diligent in terms of mask wearing and other things of that sort, because we serve populations who are at risk. But selling the Barn Party out feels like the first big step to getting back to the new normal.”

Since 1985, the National Ability Center has provided adaptive recreational programming for families and individuals of all abilities from all 50 states and more than 30 countries from around the world, Glasser said.

Some of the nonprofit’s largest pool of participants include military veterans, and children and adults on the autism spectrum, he said.

More than 50% of the National Ability Center programs benefit children and young adults 21 years old and younger, according to Glasser.

“The power of witnessing the effect our programs, such as the equestrian program, has on an individual just fills your bucket,” he said. “It makes working all those long nights and facing a string of logistical challenges worth every minute.”

National Ability Center Barn Party online auction

When: June 18-27





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