By Michelle Frias
About 30 horse riders gathered at the Pinckney equine trails on June 1, 2019, to help raise funds for NAMI Washtenaw County. NAMI volunteer Alison Paine hosted this Ride for Mental Health with her horse club, the Pinckney Trail Riders Association (PTRA).
Many participants were young community members who were excited and enthusiastic about raising funds for NAMI. Some young participants came from Heavenly Horse Stables in Pinckney, and other young riders were students from the Happy Hooves Riding Academy in Dexter.
Riders were given the opportunity to choose the length of their trail ride along the 12-mile path of equestrian trails maintained by PTRA. The Ride for Mental Health created an environment where individuals could use their equestrian skills while concurrently showing their passion for community outreach.
T-shirts were awarded to those who brought in more than $50 and overall a total of $1,455 was raised. Since youth led the way in generating funds, about two-thirds of the monies raised will be designated for Ending the Silence, a NAMI program that educates students, parents, and teachers about the early signs of mental health conditions and how to get help. The remainder will be used in support of other programs.