About Our Organization
Dr. Mark and Sue Wheeler established Special Troopers Adaptive Riding School (STARS) in 1984 with the dream to help those with disabilities experience a life changing form of therapy. Since that time STARS has quietly grown from a start-up program to one of the oldest Equine Assisted programs in the Midwest. Over the years, hundreds of clients have experienced the benefits of therapeutic riding with significant physical, emotional, and/or cognitive breakthroughs. Through the movement of the specially trained equine and instruction by our Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified instructors, the benefits to clients can be transforming and empowering. STARS clients, volunteers, donors, and board members have become a family, facilitating long-lasting and powerful change in the Siouxland community.
This year STARS will be raising funds to make much needed improvments to our front pens! We have four gates that have served us well but recently found out they no longer make those gates or the pieces to repair our existing gates! We will be needing to replace all four for the safety of our our horses, volunteers, and staff that walk in and out of those gates daily. We have two additional gates that will need replaced in that same pen that are used for equipment to come in and out as needed. Each of the existing gates is constructred of fiber glass that is breaking down over the many years those gates have hung in the sun. The new gates will be metal, wire filled gates for no climb and no hooves to come through. Any help toward this improvement this year would be greatly appreciated!
We are very fortunate to have some amazing animals to feed throughout the year but they require a lot of hay. We are able to hay and bale the majority of our pastures each summer but cannot maximize our hay potential simply due to a lack of storage. At STARS we have an existing hay shed and a couple other hay storage spaces. With an additional hay shed we would be able store the majority, if not all, of the hay needed for the year that was baled from our own pastures. This kind of savings year after year would continue to allow STARS to provide equine activites & therapies at the 75% discount that each participant recieves. It would be extremely beneficial to the programs sustainability into the future.
STARS has specially trained horses that provide an amazing service to many Siouxlanders. Each year STARS seeks out a sponsor for each horse to provide their entire years worth of hay, grain, hoof care, dental care, and annual vaccinations. For each horse that lives at STARS the sponsorship for their basic needs is around $2600.00. STARS was fortunate to take on four new horses this summer. With four new additions to the herd, STARS is seeking out that additional funding to provide care for those horses in 2019.
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