With the help of monetary and in-kind donations, Carousel Ranch has raised enough money to build a shade structure over their main arena.
The shade structure for Carousel Ranch in Agua Dulce is nearing completion, after nine years in the works.
Construction workers were putting up the steel supports for the roof of the structure on Tuesday and the arena will be open again for lessons in about three weeks, said Denise Tomey-Redmond, executive director of Carousel Ranch.
The ranch, which provides equestrian therapy for disabled and special needs children, has been raising funds for the project since 2005, but were forced to put it on hold when the recession hit in 2007.
They re-opened the project in 2010 after a $75,000 donation by the John Gogian Family Foundation and have continued to collect contributions after the creation of the Raise the Roof campaign.
The $500,000 project was funded $350,000 in donations by individuals and organizations and $150,000 through in-kind donations.
In addition to the John Gogian Family Foundation, the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation donated $100,000.
Carousel Ranch was also able to purchase all the steel at cost from the builder, Tomey-Redmond said, and the construction companies donated the equipment at half price.
“It really wouldn’t have come together if we’d had to fund this on our own,” said Eric Stroh, vice president of the Carousel Ranch Board of Directors.
Once the shade structure is complete, there will be a second phase of improvements in the following months, including hanging sponsor signage, creating paved walkways for wheelchair access and more, Tomey-Redmond said.
All improvements are scheduled to be completed by July, when staff will hold a celebratory ribbon-cutting event.
Both Tomey-Redmond and Stroh said that having a shaded arena was essential to providing therapy for disabled children, who need to be protected from the heat and rain.
“We had a little girl in first-stage heat stroke after 20 minutes on a horse,” Tomey-Redmond said. “A lot of our kids are in fragile health and overheat quickly… We cancel quite a few lessons per year, mainly because of the heat.”
Some children might have to go as many as three weeks without therapy, Stroh said.
“For a lot of these kids, this is how they get their mobility…” he said. “It’s important for them to have that, and for their families as well.”
For more information about Carousel Ranch, click here.
For more information about the Raise the Roof campaign or to donate, click here.
Melissa Lampert contributed to this report.