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Chukkers for children

Let's begin at the beginning: what in the world is a "chukker?"

Though it isn't a word most people hear very often, it's one that will make a difference to visitors to the Root Farm Center for Equine Assisted Therapy in Verona. It's one of six seven and a half-minute playing periods in a polo match, like the one Root Farm will host Aug. 12 at Chambers Field, at the corner of Peterboro and Youngs Road.

The gates to the second annual Stanley Gilbert Cup GrassRoot Benefit Polo Match will open at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, with the match beginning at 2 p.m.

The match will feature professional players, including "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh. A post-polo party will immediately follow the match. A silent auction, boasting more than 100 items, will run throughout the day. In the evening, a dinner reception with a performance by bluegrass musicians John Rossbach and Chestnut Grove will take place.

Admission the match is $10. Tickets to the match and post-party -- including food, drink and entertainment -- are $50. A limited number of "tents for tailgaters" are available for $75.

The Root Farm was established in 1997 to provide equine-assisted therapy to children and adults. Equine-assisted therapy provides physical and occupational therapy using the natural movement of the horse or donkey as a treatment tool. Guided by the belief that equines are a source of physical and psychological benefit for persons with disabilities or challenging life circumstances, the Root Farm's goal is be the most informed and effective provider of equine-assisted therapy in the Northeast. The Root Farm mission is to build and sustain a dynamic arena offering therapeutic vaulting, carriage driving, and ground-based activities with horses, donkeys and mules. Visitors receive physical therapy using the movement of horses as a treatment tool, transcend the handicapped experience through a sense of belonging and absorb the nonjudgmental acceptance of animal/human relationships.

For more information on The Root Farm and its programs, or to purchase tickets, visit rootfarm.org.

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