About Our Organization
Dr. Mark and Sue Wheeler established Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School (STARS) in 1984 with the dream to help those with disabilities experience a life changing form of therapy. Since that time STARS has quietly grown from a start-up program to one of the oldest Equine Assisted programs in the Midwest. Over the years, hundreds of clients have experienced the benefits of therapeutic riding with significant physical, emotional, and/or cognitive breakthroughs. Through the movement of the specially trained equine and instruction by our Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified instructors, the benefits to clients can be transforming and empowering. STARS clients, volunteers, donors, and board members have become a family, facilitating long-lasting and powerful change in the Siouxland community.
STARS, Inc. provides equine services to anyone ages two and up with a diagnosed disability. The project being requested will be to purchase a new piece of equipment called an Equicizer. The Equicizer is a hand-crafted mechanical horse that allows a rider to build and develop muscles used when riding. The Equicizer will offer STARS many opportunities such as intitial evaluations, working with a participant that is affraid, needs more stretching prior to making a successful mount, demonstrations for volunteers and guests, participants that are unable to ride a live horse could use the Equicizer in a much safer environment, participants that need a tandum rider with them and so much more. The addition of an Equicizer would be very beneficial!
Our shed needs a major make over!
In the last few years we have made some big changes with how we feed our herd of horses. Switching from majority small square bales to now majority large rounds. This has been an ongoing process of transition to be more cost effective for our program and it is working! We have happy horses and happy chore staff! With that transition we have a medium sized "hay shed" in our parking lot that needs a make over to become the "Machine Shed!"
We have several pieces of equipment, including our tractor, that we move in and out of our arena all year to either plug in or keep in good condition. A make over of the shed would create a place or home for all of that and a place to store EVERYTHING relating to the grounds and maintenance! The Machine Shed would be a one stop shop!
The most important part of the shed will be to house our tractor but the machine shed does not have electricity or good footing. This project is to have electrical lines trenched and outlets put in so the tractor can be plugged in during the winter months. It will also be the place our tools can charge up. We will also be putting in crushed concrete as footing.
Each spring, summer, and fall the horses at STARS battle the flies! Flies love to go for the horses legs and faces. The staff at STARS works to provide as much comfort as possible with the help of sprays, fly traps, face masks, and fly boots or as they are known by their product name Shoofly Leggins! The Shoofly Leggins are the best on the market and make a significant difference in the comfort for each horse. The constant stomping of their hooves is not ideal for horses. Stomping creates health issues in the hooves and legs of horses over time. With a herd of our size it is a significant cost endevour to purchase new Shoofly leggins and this summer is the last our current leggins will provide support. We would greatly appreciate any support in helping purchase the Shoofly leggins for each horse at STARS!
This year STARS will be raising funds to make much needed improvments to our front pens! We have four gates that have served us well but recently found out they no longer make those gates or the pieces to repair our existing gates! We will be needing to replace all four for the safety of our our horses, volunteers, and staff that walk in and out of those gates daily. We have two additional gates that will need replaced in that same pen that are used for equipment to come in and out as needed. Each of the existing gates is constructred of fiber glass that is breaking down over the many years those gates have hung in the sun. The new gates will be metal, wire filled gates for no climb and no hooves to come through. Any help toward this improvement this year would be greatly appreciated!
We are very fortunate to have some amazing animals to feed throughout the year but they require a lot of hay. We are able to hay and bale the majority of our pastures each summer but cannot maximize our hay potential simply due to a lack of storage. At STARS we have an existing hay shed and a couple other hay storage spaces. With an additional hay shed we would be able store the majority, if not all, of the hay needed for the year that was baled from our own pastures. This kind of savings year after year would continue to allow STARS to provide equine activites & therapies at the 75% discount that each participant recieves. It would be extremely beneficial to the programs sustainability into the future.
STARS has specially trained horses that provide an amazing service to many Siouxlanders. Each year STARS seeks out a sponsor for each horse to provide their entire years worth of hay, grain, hoof care, dental care, and annual vaccinations. For each horse that lives at STARS the sponsorship for their basic needs is around $2600.00. STARS was fortunate to take on four new horses this summer. With four new additions to the herd, STARS is seeking out that additional funding to provide care for those horses in 2019.
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