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Carousel Ranch raises the roof

Agua Dulce equestrian therapy center moves toward completion of new riding arena

Posted: April 23, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 23, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Workers raise the roof on a covered riding arena at Carousel Ranch in Agua Dulce on Tuesday morning. Th equestrian therapy center has been raising money for the improvements since 2005. Signal photo by Austin Dave.

Carousel Ranch, an equestrian center for disabled children in Agua Dulce, raised the roof Tuesday on a long-awaited covered riding arena for its students — just in time to beat the heat. 

After the arena’s completion, teachers will no longer have to cancel lessons, slowing student progress, due to weather.

“It’s surreal and exciting watching the roof literally go up before our eyes — it’s one of the most exciting things to happen at Carousel Ranch,” said Denise Tomey-Redmond, co-founder and executive director.

With a goal of $500,000, the Raise the Roof fundraising campaign kicked off in 2005. But the recession brought it to a halt until last year, when it was reopened by a large cash donation, she said.

Throughout the campaign, the community has pitched in to raise about $350,000, as well as $150,000 worth of in-kind donations, Tomey-Redmond said.

Donations include labor, materials, equipment and funds from local companies and individuals, she said.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people in the Santa Clarita Valley have participated in making this possible,” she said.

Eric Stroh, vice president of Santa Clarita Concrete, assisted in the construction of the arena.

“A lot of volunteer work goes into the ranch,” he said.

Like his company, others in different trades have volunteered or discounted services or materials, he said.

But the cause makes it all worth it for Stroh.

“The kids that come in here are missing limbs or wheelchair-bound. Some can’t speak,” he said. “But they get on the horse and get the feel of what it’s like to walk and move. It tugs at your heartstrings to watch some of the lessons.”

The new arena, ready for riders in about a month, will lower riding temperatures about 20 to 25 degrees, she said, allowing students to continue lessons through extreme weather.

“Our students can have severe seizure disorders, or they can be nonverbal — they have other things going on,” Tomey-Redmond said.

Protecting students from the elements, either 110-degree summers or rainy winters, is a must, and Tomey-Redmond has been wanting this arena since the center opened.

“This facility has been a vision and a dream for 17 years,” Tomey-Redmond said. “It’s going to make a huge difference.”



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