When I was asked if I wanted to take a sneak peek at the EQUI-KIDS cross country 5k course, I couldn’t say no. The race is Saturday, May 10th, and I’m not so secretly hoping I can place in my age group (30-39 year old) so I can walk away with a winning ribbon. While the ribbon makes my adolescent self giddy, it’s my heart that couldn’t say no to this race. EQUI-KIDS is so much for than a race. It’s a place of hope and growth. It’s a place of love. While I plan on pouring my heart onto the course in a little under two weeks, EQUI-KIDS has already poured its heart into the community for twenty-five years.
“Founded in 1989, EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Program has grown to become one of the largest Premier Accredited therapeutic riding programs in the country benefiting the special needs community. We provide equine-assisted activities to a diverse group of riders each week and our programs offer support to individuals with disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, mental and physical disabilities, attention deficit disorder and more. EQUI-KIDS has made a life-changing difference in the lives of hundreds of special needs individuals in Hampton Roads.”
When I was in 8th grade, I signed up for my first horseback riding lesson. As I learned more about horses and grew as a rider, something shifted inside of me. It takes confidence to sit on top of a horse. It takes courage to ask a horse to trot down a trail with nothing between you and the ground but a thousand pound animal. As a teenager, it transformed me. As a healthy child, I had these opportunities in my aspects of my life. I played volleyball. I ran track. I acted on stage in my high school theater. All of these things I took for granted. Because I am physically able, success and accomplishment is always up to me. The kids at EQUI-KIDS don’t have the same luxury. They can’t just sign up to play a sport. There aren’t many opportunities for them to feel self-pride. They are limited, but EQUI-KIDS removes this barrier for them. It gives them this gift. EQUI-KIDS gives its participates hope. It gives them self-pride. Many of the participants are bound to a wheel chair. Sitting on top of a horse is often the only time they get out of their wheel chair. EQUI-KIDS gives its participants a chance to feel their heart come to life.
EQUI-KIDS is all about heart. It was founded on a love for the children it helps, and it is sustained by people who donated out of love. The race on May 10th supports all the programs EQUI-KIDS offers. The entire day will be a fun-filled event for friends,family and even your dog.
Cross Country 5k
- Winds through the wooded trails and around the property of EQUI-KIDS’ 92 acres
- Awards given to top 3 males and top 3 females in age groups
Run with the Hounds
- Run with your dog on a 1 mile course
- Awards given to first place overall and first dog in weight classes
Pony Run for the Kids
- Children 12 and under
- Every runner receives a goodie bag
- Awards given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd overall
Come out on May 10th and run or walk the 5k. Bring your dog and run a mile. Bring your kids and let them run beside the horse pastures. I plan on racing the 5k with my heart. I have the luxury of healthy legs that carry me for miles. On May 10th, I will be using my legs to give the gift of accomplishment to other children in my community. When the races are over, stick around. Hoffman Brewing, Lagomar Pizza, and Just Cupcakes are supporting the race afterparty!
This organization and this race mean a lot to me. They promote love, and I’d love to share their love with you. For a chance to win an entry into the Cross Country 5k, share this post on your facebook page and comment below (or on facebook). Where do you feel a sense of accomplishment in your life? Winner will be announced on Monday Morning on the Breath of Sunshine Facebook Page