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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

Therapeutic riding center seeks funds and volunteers

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Crooked goats and over-stuffed sheep greet visitors at the end of a dirt road under the escarpment.

Their varied chorus harmonizes with a full complement of their equally intriguing avian counterparts — some of which have won best-in-show at the Altamont Fair after undergoing a multi-tiered bathing ritual.

Over the last 28 years, Chris Lehman has accumulated the eclectic bunch with a purpose.  She runs the Albany County Therapeutic Riding Center, which helps mentally handicapped children and adults ride horses.

“Most not-for-profits are down in funds,” she said this week, and added that the economic situation has cut her operation close to the bone.

On Saturday, April 4, she’ll have a table set up at Altamont Country Values, the old Agway, to sell Great Escape tickets that will benefit the riding center.  Spring Spin tickets, which can be used on any of 12 dates, cost $19.99, rather than the general admission price of $40.99.

The riding center also needs volunteers, Lehman said, and no experience with horses is necessary.

After she was introduced to the idea almost 30 years ago, Lehman said, as roosters crowed in the background, “It kind of took on a life of its own.”  The center offers a recreational outlet for people who otherwise wouldn’t have one, she said.

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