On Saturday, April 6, the Friends of Windridge committee will welcome visitors to Horse & Rider 2013, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center of East Texas. Windridge strives to enhance the quality of life for people who are dealing with disabilities or situations in their lives which are debilitating. This is accomplished through programs which provide education, exercise, and therapeutic benefits through equine therapy – a partnership of horse and rider. The event offers the community an opportunity to celebrate riders’ therapy and riding achievements through rider demonstrations. The afternoon will also include a silent auction and raffle, and visitors may enjoy a hot plate lunch for $6.
Friends of Windridge committee member, Clair Balliett, was first featured in People of Our Community Who Make a Difference on May 17, 1992, for her involvement with the Women’s Center of East Texas. At that time, she and her husband, David, were awaiting the birth of their first child, due that November. The arrival of their son, Blaine, came with much anticipation, but also with a diagnosis for the newborn of arthrogryposis, a neuro-musculo-skeletal disorder that affects various joints in the body. Little did the new parents realize what an important role Windridge would play in their lives. Blaine began riding at the equestrian center on his first birthday and continued until his senior year in high school. However, he underwent a double femoral ostiotomy during his senior year which also included procedures on both knees. The doctors did not release him to return to riding until he was off to college. Blaine, now 20, is a sophmore at Texas A&M University and enjoys a completely independent life. The family credits Windridge for much of that independence.
Mrs. Balliett was born in Pampa, Texas, and has been a member of the Longview community for 28 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from LeTourneau University. Mrs. Balliett is a realtor with Suzanne Cook & Company. She and David have been married for 31 years. The family attends Trinity Episcopal Church, where Mrs. Balliett is a member of the Altar Guild and serves as a wedding coordinator.
“My family and I have received so much from this community, from our jobs, our church, and our friends,” Mrs. Balliett said. “I just want others to receive the same. Volunteering just makes each of the areas of our lives shine!”
For more information on Horse & Rider 2013, please call 903-797-2414 or visit www.windridgetexas.org.