Scribbles from the Field: Cornerstone’s Equine Retirement Village
By Regina Elling
Christmas came early to the horses of Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center. On a Saturday morning before the holidays, instead of sleeping in or shopping, nearly 100 employees of HD Supply Facilities Maintenance in San Diego gathered in Ramona. In a unique mix of business and pleasure, the group has not only given support to a special organization based here, but has shown that what happens in Ramona goes far beyond its own backyard.
“We received a phone call from Jennifer Waldron, of HD Supply, and that started the ball rolling,” said Judy Beckett, founder and executive director of Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center, located at Creek Hollow Ranch. “She explained that many of the company employees volunteer their time for a big service project each year. Their budget is generous, and they carefully choose who receives their time and effort.”
Cornerstone completed the process, gave a presentation, and as a result was chosen by the company.
“As most people are aware, we offer therapeutic riding to our community kids with special needs, and also to our troop members,” says Beckett. “Of course, we rely on the horses. They have served our program well and are worth their weight in gold. Some of these horses, however, need to be retired, and frankly can’t be re-homed anywhere else. They deserve to have a safe home for the rest of their life.”
“ACT stands for ‘A Community Team’ and is part of HD Supply Facilities Maintenance outreach program,” said Waldron. “Cornerstone was an easy choice. Everyone loves what they do and the people they help.”
And with that, ACT spent a busy Saturday building Cornerstone’s Equine Retirement Village.
“It was a Herculean task. They did all the work themselves, starting from scratch,” Beckett said. “Not only did they build the structures, but they graded the area properly beforehand so the stalls don’t flood. They also painted our tack room and feed room, and cleared out all the brush and debris from around our arena, which was hip-high and thick.”
The retired equines now have access to three stalls 36 feet by 48 feet, a fourth stall 24 feet by 48 feet, and a turnout measuring 96 feet by 72 feet.
“The money went for the pipe corrals, shelters and other materials needed for the project,” said Waldron.
“Not only did the ACT team provide the funding to make this all happen, they did all the work themselves,” said Beckett. “They were so pleasant with their positive attitudes and huge servant hearts. We were all so incredibly impressed with their spirit. It’s so inspiring to be the beneficiary of something like this. I was blown away at the end of the entire incredible day!“
As the event concluded, Waldron said, “It was really exciting to see how much of a change can happen in one day. Everyone felt great about the completed projects, and being able to be around the horses and the Cornerstone volunteers was just wonderful. Everyone from the company, including the president and vice-president, showed up to help. We hope to be able to do more for them in the future.”
“Of course, putting up some fence and buildings is only one small part of the gift. It shows a commitment to the program and to Ramona that we totally appreciate,” said Beckett. “It proves that the work we are doing is gaining attention across the state and beyond.”
Taking care of the hard-working equines at Cornerstone is an invaluable service, but Beckett is quick to point out that with the holiday season over, volunteers and donations are needed more than ever.
“It can be hard to keep the momentum going when people take off for the holidays, and having to turn down riders because we don’t have enough help is something we absolutely hate to do. We can always use more volunteers and funding at this time of year,” said Beckett. “It’s for the kids and for our service members, so it’s a great way to carry forward the spirit of the season.”
Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center is a 510c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of individuals living with disabilities.
To learn more, call 760-788-2872 or visit: cornerstonetrc.org.
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