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Therapeutic equestrian organization hosts wine-tasting fundraiser

From the Ground Up Therapeutic Horsemanship Inc. held their annual fundraiser "Spring and Savor" the evening of March 31 in the Parish Hall of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. From 6 to 9 p.m. upwards of 70 guests came to support the local organization, as well as sample the hors d'oeuvres from Circa paired with area wines from The Wine House.

The evening's relaxed atmosphere was backed by the vocal stylings of local musician Marcia Rutledge and pianist Andrew Carroll. The attendees had the opportunity to partake in a silent auction, offering 12 different prize-baskets, filled with a multitude of items from area wineries, eateries, golf courses and museums.

"To my understanding, this was the first time that Alicyn Hart from Circa and The Wine House have partnered for an event," said Susan Rasmussen, event coordinator. "They're both extremely knowledgeable and talented. Tonight was very successful; we plan to be back next year."

From the Ground Up is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization which offers equine-centered activities in a nurturing environment to persons of all abilities and youths who may be considered "at-risk."

Located in New Woodstock at the foot of Mystic Mountain, the organization helps over 40 clients yearly, with a staff of 80 volunteers and 6 horses. The therapeutic horsemanship program emphasizes independence, fitness and education through a combination of horse care, groundwork and riding.

"There is so much to this therapy. It can yield physical benefits, emotional benefits as well as cognitive benefits," said From the Ground Up's Executive Director, Andrea Colella. "The volunteers often say that the program is therapeutic for them just as much as the riders they assist."

In addition to therapeutic horsemanship, From the Ground Up also offers a program called Horses for Heroes, which targets war veterans. Soldiers volunteer to work on the grounds and lend support to other soldiers that visit the premises.

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