7th Annual Chair Affair & Art Auction Update
May 1, 2008
May 1st was a wonderful spring evening
and several hundred people chatted with old friends, met new friends,
and enjoyed delicious hors d' oeuvres, as they were entertained by
the Celtic Music Group.
But, the most fun of all was that the
attendees of the Chair Affair & Art Auction had the opportunity
to support Three Gaits by bidding on old chairs that had been donated
and artistically transformed into wonderful pieces of art. Attendees
also had bidding opportunities on pieces of artwork by local artists,
which were also donated for the event.
Celebrate! The Chair Affair & Art
Auction raised $20,300 in proceeds for Three Gaits. The proceeds will be used for various
areas in the program. They'll be used for a percentage of the riding
lesson costs, new rider evaluations, training for new program horses,
and continuing education for staff members.
Without the artists, sponsors, the
Coliseum Bar and Angelo's Restaurant who gave a percentage of their
dining profits, the Milwaukee Brewers' donation of a Brewer Suite,
the Sheraton Hotel Madison who gave several nights stay, and the
volunteers, Three Gaits would not have had the opportunity to
celebrate this event!
Three Gaits and its supporters enjoyed
an exciting and successful evening. A big thank you to everyone who
shared their time and energy in making this event a success!
The "Poppy Vase" was one of
the items donated by Door Pottery to Three Gaits for the auction.
Above: Volunteers proudly show a
check of the money raised at Celebrate! 7th Annual Chair
Affair & Art Auction
Right: The winners of the
raffle enjoying their prize!
Letter From Andrea Strayer
Three Gaits Board of
Hard work and frugality have allowed
the growth of Three Gaits from its humble beginnings with two horses
and eight riders to become one of the nation's premier accredited
therapeutic riding centers. Three Gaits now serves more than 250
students each year through the dedication of our seven highly-trained
instructors and therapists, 16 tireless horses, and hundreds of
enthusiastic volunteers and financial supporters.
More important than these statistics
is how Three Gaits positively changes the lives of those we touch. A
child's difficulty walking goes away when astride a horse as she
experiences power and freedom not otherwise possible. A boy
challenged to speak learns communication and reasoning skills that
will help him the rest of his life. Damaged muscles are made stronger
by therapy on a horse, as minds and bodies experience new adventures.
Students develop special bonds with the horses, instructors, other
students and volunteers in a place where they are enabled, not
Maintaining our farm and quality
therapeutic riding program is expensive, and requires significant
financial and volunteer support. Rider's tuition fees cover only 1/3
of Three Gaits' expenses. Our annual campaign goal is to raise
$25,000. Please be a part of Three Gaits continued service to each
individual student, one ride at a time, by giving to our program.
With your generous financial gifts and volunteer time, we will be
able to enrich students' lives now and well into the future.
Thank you for your past support and
the important role you've played in Three Gaits' 25-year history.
Each and every person truly makes a difference. We look forward to
your continued partnership now, in 2008, and the years ahead. For
more information on how you can help, please visit our website at www.3gaits.org.
President, Board of Directors
Three Gaits, Inc.
Brother Like Mine
By Mark Strayer
Mark Strayer is a 5th grader whose
older brother, Brian, has been a rider at Three Gaits for five years.
This is Mark's perspective on growing up with a brother who has
Having Brian as a brother can be both
difficult and rewarding. You need to be patient because he can be a
bit self-centered. During conversations with him, you need to be
especially patient because they often turn from two-sided to one.
Having Brian as a brother can also
help me out in the world. In my classroom the past several years
there have been kids with autism. Living with Brian has shown me how
to help the kids in my class by speaking gently and softly to them.
Sometimes I need to stand up for
Brian. Last winter, we were out sledding, and there was a group of
not-so-nice kids there as well. All of these kids know Brian, and so
they know that he doesn't walk away from bullies. They tease him, and
hurt him among other things. Since Brian doesn't walk away from
problems like this, I just had to stand up, so the other kids would
stop bullying him. I think that Brian is learning how to overcome
problems from experiences such as working with unwilling horses.
I'm also very, very proud of Brian.
Though he may struggle in some parts of school, he is a tuba wizard.
He has played at Morphy Hall at UW Madison twice, and gotten the top
score in a solo contest by playing Introduction and Dance. His tuba
instructor said Introduction and Dance was a piece that he hadn't
played until high school, and here is a 7th grader who has nearly
I can tell Brian loves Three Gaits. He
loves talking about it at home. On Saturdays he tries to get out
there early so he can saddle and bridle his horse of the day. His
dream is to have a horse of his own someday that he could ride. In
the summer he does volunteer camps, where they work most of the day,
and loves being out in the country. Brian always has and always will
adore Three Gaits.
Special thanks to Heather McManamy of ShortHorse Studios for sharing
her time and talents with Three Gaits. Heather was the official
photographer for Riders Ribbons and Horseplay Student Horse Show that took
place on Sunday, August 8. Most recently, she also spent a Sunday
morning at Three Gaits taking photos of the newest members of Three
Gaits horse herd to assist us in updating Three Gaits website. As
always her talents and skills amaze us!
Heather's photos from the student
horse show are featured throughout this newsletter. To see more of
Heather's photos, please visit her website at www.shorthorsestudios.com.
Three Gaits is pleased to announce the
following grant awards received March through May 2008. We greatly
appreciate the generosity of the following organizations:
Three Gaits is able to fulfill its'
mission to provide equine assisted activities to children and adults
with special needs and disabilities because of the philanthropy of
the individuals who serve on foundation and grant making boards such
as those listed. Please refer to the website links provided for
details regarding the support each organization has provided.
of Riders, Ribbons and Horseplay:
The Annual Student Horse
Three Gaits' Riders are the very core
of the entire organization and are what Three Gaits' horse show is
all about. This annual summer event provides an opportunity for
riders to showcase skills they've worked so hard to develop. A
highlight of the summer for riders, this day is also one of Three
Gaits' staff and volunteer favorite activities to take part in.
The impact of this day goes beyond the
average horse show. This is an opportunity for riders to invite their
friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles to see them…to see them
doing something that not everyone is able to do, and to see them
The presentation of the Ribbons at the end of each of the classes
brought big smiles and cheers from the crowd. Special thanks to the
additional people who spend the day helping everyone participate in
Horseplay throughout the day. Artist, Holly Frederickson, together
with riders, volunteers and family members, created a horse sculpture
that was auctioned at Three Gaits' 25th anniversary celebration.
Singer Ken Lonnquist entertained the
audience through out the afternoon with his entertaining and
interactive songs. Amy Holmes and friend, Amy Dunn, wowed the lunch
crowd with a barrel racing demonstration. Young and those just young
at heart were able to try their hand with an interactive roping
activity that the two Amy's led as well.
Special thanks to the many volunteers,
staff, sponsors and riders who made this day a fantastic experience
for all who attended!
© 2008 ShortHorse
Above: Program director Dena Duncan
helps Bella Skalsky onto Three Gaits horse while volunteers are at
the ready to assist.
Left: Ryleigh is sailing through the
obstacle/trail class on Nora…
look at them go!
Right: Three Gaits volunteers relax
taking a break following a long day of “horseplay.”
© 2008 ShortHorse
© 2008 ShortHorse
© 2008 ShortHorse
Left: Josh Gerrits smiles happily
while riding Nora.
© 2008 ShortHorse
Above: Rob Montgomery works feverishly
to attach his winning ribbons while his mom prepares to snap his
Left: Ron Gausmann shows his reaction
to hearing his name announced as the
winner of a BLUE ribbon!
Research Leads to Progress for
Young Three Gaits Participant
By Lynn Hanus
Wendy Ianne recalls that when she
worked at CUNA Mutual she would see Three Gaits listed in United Way
of Dane County campaign materials, but she really didn't know what
the program was. She thought it might have had something to do with
horses. Little did she know how well she would come to understand
Three Gaits and the positive impact equine-assisted activities would
eventually have on her daughter, Caitlyn, who is now five years old.
Caitlyn has cerebral palsy, which
refers to a group of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or
early childhood and affect muscle tone and coordination and a
person's ability to maintain balance and posture. Wendy and her
husband, Dave, were eager to find whatever therapies they could that
would help Caitlyn. Research on the Internet led Wendy to discover a
case of a child with physical delays similar to Caitlyn's-and
horseback riding was one of the therapies that was beneficial in that
case. Caitlyn had been on horseback before at fairs and showed no
fear of it. So Wendy "Googled" for more information and up
came Three Gaits, and the connection was made.
The Iannes enrolled Caitlyn in lessons
at Three Gaits when she was three years old. Wendy remembers being
surprised by the size of the horses. "I was expecting small
ponies; I was more nervous than Caitlyn ever was! Caitlyn loves it so
much." Caitlyn has ridden in every session since she started.
The Iannes thought about having Caitlyn taking a winter off, but even
in a two- or three-week break between sessions, Wendy and Dave
noticed a regression in her speech, motor skills, and balance, so
they signed her up again right away.
"Balance is the big thing for
Caitlyn," says Wendy. "I've never seen her sit up so
straight as when she is on the horse." Caitlyn has a tendency to
go off balance and lean to the right, but she has shown a lot of
improvement in her balance and control since participating at Three
Gaits. At age three, Caitlyn started to use a walker, although her
preferred method of getting around was to crawl. But shortly after,
about a month into preschool and Three Gaits, Wendy says, "She
ditched the walker and started walking on her own." The social
aspects of Caitlyn's time at Three Gaits are very important, too, and
she has made friends with her lesson mates.
Caitlyn is very much a "girl's
girl"-she loves singing and dancing, playing with dolls and
Barbies, and watching Hannah Montana. She looks forward to
Kindergarten this fall in Sun Prairie, where the Iannes reside.
"Caitlyn is a people person," says Wendy. She gets along
well with her brother, Casey, who is four years old. The family
enjoys travel, riding their bikes together, and other activities they
can do as a family. Caitlyn's dad is a firefighter, and when he is
off duty, they make a family night out of going to Three Gaits. Casey
has also made friends with the brothers of the other riders in
Caitlyn likes to ride Maggie, Dusty,
and Beau, but she says her favorite horse is still Buddy (even though
he has been gone since December 2006, Buddy made a big impression on
Caitlyn). To commemorate Buddy's life and Caitlyn's feelings for him
the Iannes have an engraved brick on the patio at Three Gaits that
reads: Caitlin loves Buddy forever. The Iannes can't say enough good
things about Three Gaits program of equine-assisted activities and
therapies and the positive impact on Caitlyn's walking, balance, and
other progress. "Everybody's so wonderful," says Wendy.
"It's more than worth the long drive out there from Sun
Remember to use www.GoodSearch.com
when searching the Internet, and designate Three Gaits (Oregon, WI)
as your selected charity. Three Gaits receives a donation for every
internet search you make!
Help Three Gaits by
detaching this donation slip and sending it with your donation in an
Gaits Mission, Board Members, and Staff
Three Gaits, Inc., is a
nonprofit, tax exempt organization whose mission is to provide a safe
and effective therapeutic horsemanship program for children, youth,
and adults with disabilities and special needs. Therapeutic
horsemanship uses equine-oriented activities to promote and enhance
the development of each participant's cognitive, physical, and
communicative abilities, and positive self-esteem. Three Gaits
strives to serve interested individuals within Dane County and the
surrounding area. It is the policy of Three Gaits, Inc., to promote
equal service and employment opportunities for employees, clients,
board members, and applicants to the agency. Equal service and
employment opportunities means the treatment of those categories of
people mentioned above without regard to their age, race, sex, creed
or religion, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin,
color, disability, ancestry or political affiliation.
President: Andrea Strayer
Treasurer: Rob Gooze
Secretary: Mary Ann Zwaska
Directors: Deb Gunderson, Jay
Gunderson, Steve Link, Ann Lovegrove, and Pam Moen
Program director: Dena Duncan
Facility and animal
caretaker: Kameron Kennedy
Office administrator: Melissa Lawrence
Instructors: Sandra Faust, Angela
Frank, Betsy Kelley and Rudi Meyer
Occupational therapists: Stephanie
Bruschi and Karen Petrow
Gaits is a Proud Member of the
Riding for the
Handicapped Association, Inc.