Carol Brewer started horseback riding when she was 8-years-old and she hasn’t stopped since then.
The only thing about riding that has changed for Brewer over time is her passion for the discipline, which has grown steadily since that first riding lesson.
“There’s nothing else like it,” says Brewer, a recently retired UB Distinguished Professor in the School of Nursing. “You’re on top of a 1,000-pound horse that responds to requests from you made with just slight finger pressure or the touch of your leg.”
Brewer started getting serious about riding when she and her husband bought their first horse in 1980. An experienced trail rider, she also loves dressage, the competitive equestrian sport sometimes called, “horse ballet.”
Given Brewer’s interest in riding, it’s not surprising that she supports Lothlorien Therapeutic Riding Center, a unique community resource in East Aurora, New York, that since 1983 has provided horsemanship and horseback riding opportunities for individuals of all ages with cognitive, physical, emotional and learning disabilities.
“I know enough about therapeutic riding to know that the movements between a horse and a rider can’t be replicated in any other way,” she says. “And though it’s great physical exercise, there is also the emotional bond that a rider establishes with a horse.”
Brewer also points to the social benefits of riding and the sense of community that comes from having to care for horses.
Lothlorien is rebuilding its indoor arena after last November’s snow storm destroyed the previous arena.
“These buildings are expensive,” says Brewer. “The rebuild is in progress, but it’s important to remember that this is a charitable organization that depends on a solid donor base, not just for this building, but for all of its programs and equipment.”
While other stables offer therapeutic riding opportunities, Lothlorien delivers the experience as its primary mission.
“They provide a service to the community for people who wouldn’t be able to get this kind of help any other way,” she says. “It’s a unique form of therapy that really works for some people.”
Despite their programming and the opportunities it provides, Lothlorien is not widely known outside of the equestrian community, a level of awareness that Brewer would like to raise.
“There are many good causes worthy of support, but this one is near and dear to my heart,” says Brewer.