SaddleUp! gala reins in local jet set

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Travelers adorned in gauzy light summer pastels packed their bags for the third annual SaddleUp! Suitcase Party, each hoping to win seats on a private jet bound for California wine country, departing directly from the event.

The popular gala filled the Mayo Aviation Hangar at Centennial Airport on Aug. 2 with patrons, prizes, fine wine, and an “A” list of local media, sports celebrities and politicians, all with hopes of helping others.

The SaddleUp! Foundation is nonprofit organization that provides equine-assisted therapy to adults and children with special needs.

With facilities in Parker and Elizabeth, SaddleUp! conducts supervised therapies in a family-friendly ranch environment.

“Although I’ve never had need, myself, for equine therapy, I think what this organization does with kids is absolutely amazing,” said Joan Marks, of Denver. “There is just something so special in that connection between kids and horses. I just can’t explain it, but it seems to work.”

Sporting a throwback aviation theme, patrons were treated to live entertainment and dancing by “American Idol” contestant Richie Law, as well as The Moderators, a Denver-based band comprised of local titans of industry, including presidents and CEOs of Colorado’s small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike.

Silent and live auction items included VIP tickets to the Solheim Cup, weekend use of a Ferrari and mountain vacation packages.

Some patrons chose the “pay for hay” option, donating directly to a fund that feeds the organization’s 15 horses.

“I have horses of my own and know that it’s not cheap, so this option fits our family better than a set of golf clubs or something,” said Anna Steele. “Besides, I always have a soft spot for anything that has to do with horses.”

SaddleUp! Foundation programs provide therapy for mentally, emotionally and physically challenged individuals. Working with several established health-care providers such as Craig Hospital, Children’s Hospital and the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, the program serves an average of 4,500 participants per year.

More than 150 volunteers guide horses and spot riders, so participants can ride safely and train with therapists.

SaddleUp! Foundation

To learn more about SaddleUp! or to pay for hay, go online to www.saddleupfoundation.org or call 303-788-1666

Locations:

SaddleUp! at Bear’s Barn

11152 E. Daley Circle

Parker, CO 80134

SaddleUp! at Swift Creek

39850 Swift Creek Circle

Elizabeth, CO 80107