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Equestrians arrive in Amana to raise money for disabled riders

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“You’re almost there! Keep going! You can do it! Run! Run! Run!” These encouraging words could be heard for over an hour this morning on 220thTrail between East Amana and Amana, Iowa.

Starting at 9am with a 5k walk/run, Miracles in Motion, a volunteer-based equestrian organization for individuals of all ages with mental and physical challenges, is holding its fundraising Festival of Miracles today, Saturday, September 18, 2010. Located four miles west of Swisher, Miracles in Motion is a NARHA-accredited therapeutic horseback riding center.

According to its website, the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) is “the global authority, resource and advocate for equine assisted activities and therapies and the equines in this work that inspire and enrich the human spirit.” Basing itself on values of access and inclusion, compassion and caring, NARHA serves thousands of disabled individuals through various centers each year. It is the support from NARHA that is a source of pride for Miracles in Motion.

“We’re the first in Iowa to be NARHA accredited!” boasts Ellen Haman. Haman’s daughter, Alysia, who uses a manual wheelchair, has been riding with Miracles in Motion for eight years. Now a pro, Alysia quickly shows how riders with less experience or muscle strength are assisted by volunteers, dubbed “side-walkers,” to provide additional stability. Exuding confidence in her own riding ability, it can be seen that Alysia is a role model for new students.

Both Hamans came out to support the day’s activities in full-participation. Ellen walked this morning’s 5k, while Alysia had a friend pushing her along the way. Part of a larger group, the Hamans motivated other walkers and runners on their path.

Participants of the 5k walk/run included a variety of ages and abilities, both mental and physical. Some took on the challenge of speed, such as Thomas Julius, who finished in 22 minutes, 10 seconds. Others accepted the challenge of finishing. The final time for the event was 1 hour, 48 minutes, 5 seconds. No matter if a runner came in first, last, or somewhere in between, success in achievement could be seen on all faces. Not only were runners accomplishing their own goals, they were also helping to raise money for a worthy cause.

The 5k was just the beginning of today’s festivities. Participants and observers are encouraged to join in subsequent activities, including horse rides, tethered hot air balloon rides, vendor meals, and a raffle drawing for a 1972 Buick GS muscle car, donated by Coyote Classics. As an added bonus, St. Luke’s Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services department is handing out free helmets as a way to raise awareness of brain injury prevention.

The final event of the day will be a live performance by Tom Nugent at Amana’s Millstream Brewery from 5pm-7pm.

Everyone is encouraged to come and support this wonderful cause.

For additional information on how you can become involved with Miracles in Motion as a volunteer or participant, please visit the Get Involved or New Student pages.

Upcoming fundraising events can be found on Miracles in Motion’s homepage.

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