Hoof-a-thon benefits autism awareness | Fulton, Missouri News

Charlene Ferrin, owner of Iron Wing Ranch, is hosting the first Angels for Autism Hoof-A-Thon fundraiser for people with autism Oct. 7.

The event will be at Iron Wing Ranch at 11727 Fletcher Lane in Holt Summit.

Ferrin credits her niece, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome, and nephew, who has autism, for her ability to see the joy a horse can bring to children with special needs.

“Connecting horses to individuals with special needs to improve their quality of life is truly my passion,” Ferrin said.

Starting at 11 a.m. Oct. 7, participants will go on a 13-mile trek around Holt Summit to raise funds for children and adults diagnosed with autism.

Riders will leave from Iron Wing Ranch, traveling to Oil Well Road and stopping at Turkey Creek Golf Course for lunch. From there, they will travel through Cedar City, past SelecTurf next to the U.S. 63 access and back to the ranch.

Ferrin has taught horseback riding and provided weekly horse therapy sessions to children with all kinds of special needs for more than 22 years. After participating in a cystic fibrosis hoof-a-thon, Ferrin said, she was inspired to model an event after it to raise funds specifically for autism.

“My goal is to host the hoof-a-thon for 20 years, and if I personally can’t, I hope the Arena Angels carry it on,” Ferrin said. “I’ve witnessed the miracles that happen when you connect individuals with special needs to horses.”

Arena Angels are volunteers who help around the ranch, she explained.

Registration for the event is $22 per person for the dinner and dance or $44 for the hay wagon pledge that includes a ride in the hay wagon, dinner and dance. The minimum pledge donation for horseback riders is $155, which includes a ride, bandana, dinner and the dance.

The horse or hay wagon rider who raises the most money through sponsorship will win a prize.

First- and second-place winners will be awarded a handmade belt buckle made of horseshoes engraved with the words “Angels for Autism 2017,” and the third-place winner will get spurs engraved with a similar message.

T-shirts ($17) and sweatshirts ($33) can be purchased on site.

Riders are encouraged to bring their own horses.

For volunteers wanting to get involved with the Iron Wing Ranch, Ferrin said they can help out with weekly horse therapy sessions, leading horses for people with autism and more.

Becoming an Arena Angel gives volunteers an opportunity to connect with children through horses, she said.

During the event, participants can also expect a live performance from Apostle’s Creek.

“It will truly be a family-friendly event, and we would like to thank Lee’s Chicken, Affordable Printing Solutions, JAB Creations in Fulton and Turkey Creek Golf Course for their support in this year’s event,” Ferrin said.

For upcoming events, donors can become a banner sponsor for $222 and/or have their company flag carried during the ride for $333.

For more information, visit ironwingranch.com or contact Ferrin at 573-690-6780.

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