Coastal Therapeutic Riding Program celebrates its 20th year anniversary

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Organization now has a new home (Photo By: Lakeeda Johnson)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Now in its twentieth year of operation, Coastal Therapeutic Riding Program (CTRP) is celebrating this milestone anniversary with a new covered arena that will allow them to provide service to riders despite the weather.

Founded in 1999, the Wilmington nonprofit provides quality equine-assisted activities and therapies for people with special needs in Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties.

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Ann Balogh and Linda Brett-Kell founded CTRP with one student but they now serve at least 40 riders monthly.

“My son was pretty much non-verbal,” Balogh said referring to her son, Timmy, who was 4 years old at the time.

After riding a horse, she noticed lots of improvements in her son.

Balogh remembered reading in Reader’s Digest about a similar program that offered a range of benefits for special needs individuals.

“When we had a meeting to draw up his plan, I put down that I wanted him to be able to participate in therapeutic horseback riding,” Balogh said.

At that time, Brett-Kell was responsible for overseeing Timmy’s case management. Even though therapeutic horseback riding was listed on his plan, Brett-Kell said no such program existed.

That’s when Brett-Kell and Balogh decided to create an equine-assisted therapy program for the special needs community in Wilmington.

As CTRP celebrates its twentieth anniversary, Executive Director Kim Niggel says they’re especially delighted to have a new covered arena which will allow more riders to enjoy interaction with horses any day regardless of the weather conditions outside.

This weekend, CTRP hosted an anniversary event featuring a dinner, silent auction and other fun activities to raise funds for the nonprofit.

Click here for more information on how to donate to make rider scholarships available for other special needs individuals.