February 27, 2012
Operation Free Ride
AQHA members are invited to give back to those who serve our country.
The Armed Forces Foundation and Horses4Heroes Inc., is inviting all AQHA members, instructors and facility owners to participate in an unprecedented collaboration between breed associations and equestrian organizations, united for one important mission: to give our active-duty military personnel, returning combat veterans, wounded warriors and their families the opportunity to ride a horse for free!
Launching this spring, Operation Free Ride will be an important opportunity for participating facilities to show support for soldiers, veterans and their families, participate in a nationwide community service project and attract new customers. The Horseback Riding Program is just one of the many benefits of AQHA membership. Join or renew your membership today!
Interested facilities and families can register at www.OperationFreeRide.com. Families can click on the map and find a list of participating facilities in their area, whom they will then contact for a “free ride.” This can be a walk around the pen, a trail ride or a visit to a dude ranch. The sky’s the limit, and it’s up to you.
The kick-off date is Saturday, May, 19, Armed Forces Day, with plans being made in April to celebrate the Month of the Military Family as a “soft roll out.” We are asking all participating facilities to schedule an open house on May 19, if possible, to promote their involvement with this program.
Operation Free Ride will continue the good work started at many therapeutic riding programs that serve wounded warriors and veterans, but not family members. By opening our barn doors to the entire family, we are allowing the horses to heal the wounds of war and separation. Many families, we are told by the Veterans Administration, need time to get reacquainted and reconnected. This will help start that process.
Enroll in AQHA’s Horseback Riding Program and earn rewards for time spent in the saddle.
The Armed Forces Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing solace to members of the Armed Forces community. AFF provides direct financial support to service members and their families for essential living expenses, bereavement assistance, psychological health and traumatic brain injury outreach, morale-boosting recreation events, military children’s events and hospital outreach.
Horses4Heroes Inc. is a nonprofit organization that uses horses as teaching, therapy and motivational partners to engage, inspire and empower military families and individuals. Through its national network of kid-friendly, family-friendly facilities, we are offering able-bodied, affordable horseback riding programs that emphasize fun and safe activities with horses, mounted and un-mounted for all ages. Participants learn valuable leadership and teamwork skills, make new friends and develop a lifelong love of horses.
For more information about Operation Free Ride or Horses4Heroes, call Sydney Knott at (888) 987-4376 (9US-HERO) or (702) 645-8446 or visit www.Horses4HeroesUSA.com.