While a wet and rainy morning put a damper on Reins of Life’s first Biker Blowout Fund-raiser, organizers were undeterred as they set off for their run throughout Ellis County.

About a dozen riders turned out for the event, which traveled from Waxahachie to Maypearl before going on to Mansfield, Red Oak and Cedar Hill.

The rain delayed the ride’s start by about an hour, Reins of Life Founder and President Carol Anderson said, speaking from run’s endpoint at The Boxcar in Cedar Hill.

Chris Lopez, Anderson’s husband and the key organizer for the ride, said that “there were bike chapters as far away as McKinney, Plano, Wylie, Keller, all coming to it,” but the weather made most cancel their plans.

Some riders from Keller and Irving were on their way early this morning when they had to stop due to severe weather, Lopez explained.

However, some riders braved the weather to come out for a good cause.

“Some don’t care about the weather,” Lopez said. “They just ride.”

Saturday morning’s fund-raiser benefited Reins for Life Therapeutic Riding Center, raising money for program and facilities improvements.

A number of companies and organizations helped out with the fund-raiser, Lopez said, listing off MHC Kenworth’s Jerry Prigmore and Brad Boelling, Southwest International Arlington, Shorty Sims and The Boxcar’s Carol Harris.

Harris “was a big contributor to this,” Lopez added.

Barbara McNeely with Hidden Miracles, another one of the event’s sponsors, noted that both her organization and Reins for Life both operate almost exclusively on donations, which can mean that “our goals take a long time to make happen.”

However, events such as the one on Saturday can shorten the amount of time those goals take.

Funds from Saturday’s ride, live auction, bike show, and the organization’s portion of the cover charge at the Boxcar will go towards “improving the Reins of Life facility and towards needed equipment,” Anderson said. “There is also a project planned in September to build a cover over our arena so we don’t have to fight the weather any more.

“We have had problems this year with having so much rain that we have had to cancel class several times,” she said. “Our volunteers and riders have been very patient waiting for the rain to stop. With the construction projects we have planned for this year, it shows that Reins of Life is growing and that we will be able to serve more of Ellis and surrounding counties.”

A therapist for 25 years, Anderson says that she first got the idea for equestrian therapy back in college.

“It’s been an idea in the back of mind ever since then,” she tells.

Reins for Life is open to children (ages 5 and up) and adults with physical, mental, or emotional handicaps, providing tailored riding programs for each of its riders.

Designed to help children and adults with special needs such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism, the program’s benefits include muscle conditioning, improved balance and memory.

By undertaking the seemingly simple exercises of riding, stroking, and grooming their mounts, riders develop improved coordination, muscle strength, spatial awareness and concentration.

The program also helps alleviate emotional ailments such as depression, loneliness and stress.

“When you put these kids on these horses, you start working their muscles that don’t usually get worked while sitting in a wheelchair,” Anderson said. “I have known for a long time that interaction with horses can produce a unique, joyous sensation for the rider and encourages them to reach beyond the confines of their world toward a higher goal.”

A unique aspect of this nonprofit program is that it is dependent on the volunteers who form the core of this successful equine assisted therapy program.

“We really don’t have a set amount of volunteers but with every class, we have enough,” Anderson said. “Volunteers are very important and God has always blessed us with the number of volunteers for each rider. Each rider requires three volunteers: one horse handler and two side walkers.”

Each class, which runs for about six weeks, covers the basics from mounting riders from the platform to exercising.

On the Internet

Reins of Life: www.reinsoflifetx.org

E-mail Anthony at anthony.trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com