DAKOTA CITY - Horse-drawn holiday sleigh rides are being offered in Dakota City to view Christmas lights around this Humboldt County community.
The event, set from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, is a fundraiser for the non-profit Stable Connections, which uses equine-assisted learning exercises and equine-assisted psychotherapy for individuals and groups.
Tickets are $12. The first ride will begin at 5 p.m. and the last ride will leave at 9 p.m. Each ride is roughly 30 minutes long and starts at Dream Carriage Rides in Dakota City.
"Tickets for the 7 o'clock ride are going fast," said Tanya Moffit.
Tickets must be purchased in advance. The event is planned for a maximum of 35 people per hour.
The event is being held in conjunction with Jim Kellner, of Dream Carriage Rides. Half of the proceeds will go to Stable Connections to provide services to clients, Moffit said.
Hot chocolate and hot cider will be served after each ride.
Kellner routinely provides rides throughout the holiday season, he said, but Thursday is reserved for the Stable Connections event.
For tickets, contact Kris Ackerman, 408-6156, Moffit, 230-4020.
Stable Connections is an outreach ministry for Cana, which describes itself as "an organic mission station ... that will reach out to people in need through mentoring, Bible studies, workshops, small concerts, and at some time, a worship experience." It was begun in Fort Dodge by the Reformed Church of America.
Equine-assisted therapy is designed to help people come in contact with who they are, based on how they work with the horses. It is not about horsemanship or teaching the horses anything, according to members.
Ackerman, a Cana member who owns the horses the program uses, said, "We believe in miracles and believe people experience miracles with horses.
"The horse doesn't care who you are or what you've done."
Moffit said being with horses allows people to forget they're in therapy.
"It breaks the pattern of what you're used to," she said. "If you've been in therapy you know what you're trying to do. But out there, you just work with the horse."
Horses don't judge, said Moffit.
"There's nothing conditional about it. It lets people be (and see) what happens out there," she said.
"We hope (the therapy) just lets people get down to the basics and discover who they really are. Horses are always just who they are and always respond how they respond. They have no traditional expectations that people get wrapped up in.
"Besides, horses by themselves are therapy."