National Ability Center hosts barn party to support equestrian programs |

National Ability Center hosts barn party to support equestrian programs

Tom Betar, The Park Record

The National Ability Center will host its 7th annual Barn Party this Saturday, May 30, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or by registering online at Ticket prices are $40 for adults, $20 for youth and $5 for children under five years of age.

Ticket sales from the upcoming Barn Party will help fund the NAC’s Equestrian Program, which offers different forms of equine-assisted activities or therapies throughout the year, with trail riding on the surrounding the Round Valley trail system featured in the warmer months.

The indoor Barn Party will be held rain or shine and will feature events such as a silent auction, a riding and roping demonstration, line dancing, mechanical bull riding, a bounce house, face painting, a photo booth and live music from Country Music artist Lisa Daggs. Participants are encouraged to dress in cowboy or western gear. 400 people are expected to attend, NAC events manager Julia Rametta said.

"The Barn Party is one of two events on our property so it gives people a great chance to come in and see our mission in action," she said.

The onsite event will give participants the opportunity to see the facility firsthand. There will be a demonstration where participants in the equestrian programs can showcase their skills and knowledge and their friends and family members can meet the horses.

"It’s always been a really fun event that’s family and community focused," Rametta said. "Out of all of our fundraisers, this event probably connects most directly with our families who utilize our programs here."

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The National Ability Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 that aims to empower individuals of all abilities to build confidence and skills through sport, recreation and educational programs. Individuals of all ages can participate in these programs including those with cognitive and physical disabilities, as specially designed equipment is made available, such as adaptive saddles and customized ski and snowboard equipment.

NAC reaches out to servicemen and families

The NAC’s 7th annual Barn Party will raise funds for their equestrian programs, which have a large impact on veterans and military members who utilize these programs daily.

"One of our biggest groups here has been military programs," Rametta said. "These are people we really enjoy working with up here and almost all of them will go through the equestrian program at some point in their stay."

Equestrian programs include adaptive horseback riding, trail rides, hippotherapy and equine-facilitated learning. Hippotherapy, meaning "treatment with the help of a horse," uses physical, occupational or speech language pathologists to incorporate the movement of the horse as a treatment surface and bring the patient out of a traditional clinical setting.

Veterans are not the only group to benefit from these programs. The NAC also serves active-duty military service members and their families, said Janis Neary Miller, Assistant Manager of the Sports and Recreation program. Their partner organizations include Wounded Warriors, Warrior Projects, Utah National Guard, and others.

"There is a perception that we only work with Wounded Warriors because that’s the brand people see a lot, but that is not all encompassing of our military program," she said.

The NAC serves more than 900 service-related individuals on an annual basis, said Jeremy Houskeeper, military and groups program manager. "Service-related" includes family members of military members.

"We believe the family members served likewise while the veteran was in country or performing service," he said. "There are sacrifices on both sides. That’s why we say ‘service related’."