Teri Gapinski, manager of Akeley’s Jack Pine Stables, invites everyone to stop by for the grand reopening of Jack Pine Sunday 1-4 at their new location west of Akeley.
Visitors are encouraged to meet the horses and learn more about the therapeutic riding program. The afternoon will include live music, horse-drawn cart rides, face painting, crafts and games. Food will be available upon purchase of the Chuck Cart.
For over 20 years, Jack Pine Stables has been owned and operated by Kris and Grant Oppegard, providing a therapeutic equestrian program for people with special needs.
When the Oppegaards retired, Gapinski took over the reins and moved the stables to a new location at 23940 291st Ave., Akeley – one mile west of Akeley on the highway. 34, turn north on 291st Ave., and travel 0.5 mi. at Jack Pine Stables Alley.
Gapinski and dozens of volunteers offer weekly hour-long riding lessons and experiences with horse care, horse grooming and nailing, and riding to suit individual abilities. In addition to lessons, 25-30 of Jack Pine’s attendees compete in the Zone 5 Special Olympics competition, and all attendees showcase their accomplishments at an end-of-season show for friends and family.
Classes are generally conducted in small groups of two to five participants for $ 10 per rider; significantly less than the typical Minnesota therapeutic riding program.
Jack Pine Stables has a solid base of volunteers who are involved with horses and people with disabilities. Since course fees cover only a small portion of annual expenses, Jack Pine Stables is dependent on grants and donations.
While the move to a new location was made possible by the generous donation of 40 acres of land, those acres are to be turned into a usable farm with fencing, water, electricity, hay shed, shelters, arena and barn. This poses a considerable financial challenge.
To learn more about Jack Pine Stables and the equine therapy it offers for people with special needs, how to volunteer or how to provide financial support, visit the website, www.jackpinestables.com.