It's hard to miss the festivities in Kentucky, but you may have missed a derby cause a little closer to home.
Helping Others Reach Success Using Equine Services Incorporated, or H.O.R.S.E.S. Inc. had their own Derby Day, raising money to help people with special needs who prefer the organization's slower horses, rather than racing thoroughbreds.
There were all the main players that would make a great Derby Day: Kentucky Hot Browns, Kentucky Derby Pie, mint for the julep, and hats and dresses.
HORSES Inc was not about finishing first, but celebrating their organization and all that their slower horses accomplish.
Debbie Gadlage's 21 year old daughter, Amanda has been riding with HORSES Inc for eight years, and she says the animals have made all the difference. Amanda's able to sit up stronger, talk to the horses, hug and tickle the horses... the horses are her friends.
This is because Amanda has a seizure disorder, so she's not able to play sports as other children may be able to. Debbie feels much more comfortable with the safer equine services, "I've even witnessed a horse stop in his tracks because somehow he felt Amanda was about to have a seizure."
Executive Director, Joy Winebarger says the horses can help people like Amanda with everything from coordination to motor skills, "some of the people we work with have things like autism or cerebral palsy where they need just a little extra help- it makes a huge difference.
However, the horses have helped more than just the riders, they've created happy tears for the people who love them. Debbie says, "her to be able to ride a horse and me being in the background in the audience to see, it's just a huge reward. It's therapeutic and she loves it."
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003