Gaitway annual Derby Day kicks off this Saturday | Proceeds connect special needs children with therapeutic horses

Baton Rouge – If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, you’re in luck. A Derby of a different kind is happening right here in Baton Rouge on the same day. Saturday, May 4th, the annual GaitWay Derby day will be in full swing at The Heard Equestrian Center

“The event is called Derby Day because we do it basically like a Kentucky Derby gala. This year is the 150th Kentucky Derby and sounds very exciting. We actually will stream the race live as the event will have live music.” said Sarah Davis, executive director of Gaitway Therapeutic Horsemanship.

Davis says the proceeds from the event will go towards the programs they help connect those with special needs to therapeutic horses. Those needs include downs syndrome, autism, ADHD, those in wheelchairs and others. 

“We do lessons for just a wide range. We have a blind student like we can truly adapt. We call them adaptive riding lessons for a reason and we can truly cater to anyone. The benefits that horses provide for our riders is truly really special,” Davis told UWK.

The benefits of therapeutic horsemanship are mental, physical, cognitive, social, emotional that people can gain from a partnership with their horse. 

Those who can’t attend can also contribute to the cause. The event will feature a live auction with great prizes. 

“We actually have a couple of things to choose from. We had a birthday party for 10 at GaitWay that we host and provide cake and pizza and gift bags and that’s one thing that they can choose. There’s an LSU Tiger experience with on field passes for the Alabama game on September 28. There’s a Houma’s House dinner for eight. It’s a curated five course dinner at Houma’s house, at their restaurant with wine pairings for eight people.” Davis said.

The May 4th event will also honor a late board member, Carol Adams Fredrickson. You can find more information on the event on their website.

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