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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program receives grant from Build-A-Bear Workshop

Bear hugs from the Build-A-Bear Workshop are not just for children of all ages. The horses in New Mexico State University's Therapeutic Riding Program are getting "a helping paw" thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation.

The grant will be used to purchase hay for the horses the program was unable to recoup after a barn fire in April 2012.

"We've done really well being self-supportive for a while," said Sarah Veeder, an equine science instructor and adviser of the NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program. "But, as hay prices increase, it gets harder and harder for us. Our only option to stay open is to increase the prices for our clients, which we're trying not to do. Getting this grant is really helping us keep our prices where they are for the year. This is a huge deal and we are really grateful for this grant."

Since the fire, Veeder said they have been covering the horses' hay with tarps, but still have problems with the hay getting wet and moldy.

She said she was approached by Sheila Black, senior prospect research coordinator for University Advancement, who heard about the grant opportunity. Black assisted the riding program in writing the grant.

"This grant allows us to continue to feed high-quality hay to the therapeutic riding horses without us raising our prices to our clients," she said.

The NMSU Therapeutic Riding Program helps persons with disabilities achieve personal life skills and goals through riding sessions, counseling and support.

The Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation is committed to making life more bearable for children, families and pets, in need of a helping paw. With the sale of each full-sized Bearemy's Kennel Pals® friend - a collection of Build-A-Bear Workshop® plush dogs - one dollar is donated to domestic pet programs including local animal shelters, stray pet rescue and rehabilitation organizations, and pet education programs around the country. These funds are available to qualified non-profit organizations in the United States and Canada. Visit www.buildabear.com for more information.