With two horses and four riders, Ben and Shirley Nolt founded The Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association, Inc. (CATRA) to provide a special kind of therapy to people with various challenges. Since 1985, CATRA has offered “a place of therapy, fun, acceptance, and learning” on their farm setting, just off I-81 at the Grantville exit. They are strategically located to serve 27 school districts surrounding the Harrisburg area.
CATRA offers more than recreation to the people they serve. The experience of therapeutic riding is individualized to train those with physical, emotional, developmental, and various other challenges. Riders with disabilities find improved balance, coordination, and strengthened muscles through the practice of tasks. A major benefit to the riders is the sense of self-worth and confidence that they develop through participation in the activities.
Horses are not the only animals employed in the program. You will see dogs that ride with the riders on the horses; and there are cats and kittens, donkeys, miniature horses, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, a pot bellied pig, chickens, and ducks. Farm life with its responsibilities and chores occupy volunteers as well as the ongoing active program with the riders.
CATRA is unique in several ways. The philosophy of “unconditional love and acceptance” is the keynote. Also, the non-profit program operates totally with dedicated volunteers. There are no paid employees.
An ambitious calendar of events including Benefit Shows, Horse Shows, Picnics, Workshops, and various fundraisers is included in CATRA’S operation. The Senators game on Sunday, April 29, is designated as a fundraiser for CATRA. Ticket information can be obtained on the CATRA website (http://www.catra.net) or call 717-469-0537.
Volunteers are always in demand. You are also encouraged to consider designating a group or church event as a fundraiser for CATRA. You will be helping to change lives – lives for whom Christ died.
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