Horse Industry Donates to Riding Program

Al Roker of NBC's "Today Show" visited Bozeman, Mont., earlier this week, bringing with him $1.2 million in donations for Eagle Mount, a local charity.

This trip was a part of the ninth-annual "Lend a Hand" program, whose purpose is "to help small charities across the country that work toward improving conditions in their communities," according to

Established in the early 1980s, Eagle Mount is "a place that helps kids and adults who have special needs experience the equestrian world in ways they never thought possible," said Roker. Eagle Mount also provides opportunities to experience other recreational activities including skiing, ice skating, swimming, and golfing. It also hosts summer camps for children with cancer.

Roker's weeklong trip includes stops in several different states, but his stop in Montana was particularly interesting to the horse industry. This is because two companies specializing in horseback riding equipment made donations to the program. Through donations from both Troxel and Ariat International, Eagle Mount's therapeutic riding program is now stocked with more than 100 new helmets and enough footwear and apparel for more than 50 riders.

Troxel was excited about its donation of nearly $10,000-worth of quality equestrian helmets, the largest donation of helmets to date, according to the company.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this wonderful cause and donate Troxel helmets through 'Lend a Hand,' especially after learning these helmets would help those with special needs achieve the previously unthinkable in horseback riding," said Shay Timms, CEO of Troxel, in a news release.

Ariat was also delighted to participate in the giving, according to Ariat founder and CEO Beth Cross. The company partnered with Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply to donate its boots, jackets and shirts to Eagle Mount.

"We know firsthand the wonderful benefits of equestrian activities and are thrilled that Eagle Mount gives those with special needs the opportunity to experience them as well," Cross said.

According to, nearly 30 other companies gave donations to Eagle Mount including M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Powerdish by Infinia, De Rham Family Trust, Big Sky Resort, General Motors Foundation, United Airlines, Expo Dry Erase Markers, Frididaire, John Deere, Kainz Family Foundation, Rossignol Group, Head Windersports USA, Sherwin-Williams Paint, Backyard Discovery National Recreation Systems, Winston Fly Fishing Rods, Kelty, Sara Lee, Dyson, Glidden Paint, Strong Hold Fabrication and AAA.

Other horse-related donations included feed from Standlee Hay Company as well as HW Brand and Gallagher fencing materials, and Tom Brokaw gave one of his Quarter Horses, RC. Handi-Ramp also donated a wheelchair ramp to assist participants in mounting horses during therapeutic riding sessions.

Mary Peterson, executive director of Eagle Mount, emphasized what a "huge help" the supplies will be for its therapeutic riding program.

"We have twice as many riders with special needs this year as we had last year," said Peterson, "so the need is great, and we're delighted to be able to serve more people."

About the Author

Courtney LeMay, Editorial Intern

Courtney LeMay was editorial intern for The Horse for the summer of 2010. She attends Asbury Univeristy, planning to graduate in 2013 with a double major in Journalism and Media Communications. She is currently the senior staff features writer for her school paper, the Asbury Collegian, as well as a member of the swim team.

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