Tricounty News

True Strides begins indoor riding arena

True Friends’ new therapeutic riding program, True Strides, broke ground for a new indoor riding arena Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Camp Courage near Maple Lake.

Responsible for the construction is Morton Buildings. With more than 12,000 square feet, the new arena will include a five-stall barn, tack room, climate-controlled viewing gallery that can also be used as a classroom for riders.

The projected completion date is set for summer 2014. True Friends and True Strides would like to thank all the donors and volunteers who have made the beginning of this program and project possible.

True Friends, a nonprofit, privately-funded agency, enriches the lives of nearly 4,000 people with developmental or physical disabilities and special needs annually. Camp locations include Camp Friendship near Annandale, Camp Eden Wood in Eden Prairie, Camp New Hope near McGregor, Camp Courage near Maple Lake, and Camp Courage North near Lake George. For more information visit www.TrueFriends.org, or call (952) 852-0101.

Extensive research was done prior to planning the project. Alia Mortensen, program director of True Strides communicated with various professionals in the therapeutic riding field and others in the disability community to gather their expert opinions on everything from preferred arena dimensions to proper lighting to meet sensory needs in the classroom.

“An indoor riding arena gives us the opportunity to provide programming year round. The space lets us continue to work with and train our equine staff through the long winter months,” Mortensen said.