Beyond Boundaries of Ward has partnered with Allied Therapy Clinic of Sherwood to host on April 27 the 7th annual Boot Scootin’ Bash and 5K Dash at its facility located at 2195 Peyton St. just outside of Cabot, which is five minutes from Cabot High School.

"This is a fundraiser focused on raising awareness of our organization by actively engaging the community that it serves," said Tiffany Mattzela, director of marketing/public relations. The silent auction opens at 7:30 a.m., with the 5k race beginning at 8 a.m.

As the race is coming to a close, rider demonstrations will begin at 8:30 a.m. Riders are clients that are seen for hippotherapy at Beyond Boundaries and who volunteer to ride during the demonstrations.

"It’s a great way to involve our friends around whom our program is focused," Mattzela said. "Both the clients and the parents enjoy participating and it gives the audience a sense of what happens during an actual hippotherapy session. It promotes overall education and awareness regarding this very specialized therapeutic tool. A break is taken about halfway through the rider demonstrations to announce top race times and present medals."

Throughout the event, a free lunch will be provided and booths hosted for other community based organizations and local businesses.

"Our event also includes various activities for children including the Kids Corner sponsored and presented by Home Depot," she said.

The event is free, and there is a $20 Option A registration fee for our 5k participants which includes a runner’s gift bag and cotton race shirt. The organization also will offer a $25 Option B registration that includes the registration fee, runner’s gift bag and an Under Armour t-shirt.

Beyond Boundaries is a non-profit therapy center that was established in 2003 and gained non-profit status in 2004. It is a place where individuals with disabilities and their families can create strong animal and human bonds and experience overwhelming therapy success. Beyond Boundaries currently has 12 nationally registered hippotherapists (physical, occupational and speech therapist) that practice at its facility. Program Director, Jamie Carman-Regan is a therapeutic riding instructor who holds an Advanced Instructor Training Level. There are only two individuals in Arkansas with this credentialing.

Mattzela said Beyond Boundaries serves clients many areas around Arkansas.

"Because we are such a specialized facility we service clients from all over the state," she said. "We have many clients from the Sherwood, North Little Rock, and Little Rock areas."

Mattzela said the organization wants to reach out to the community with its spring fundraiser.

"On a clear, sunny day in north central Arkansas, a child laughs and giggles as she rocks gently back and forth on the back of a pretty little sorrel mare. Her eyes sparkle as she reaches down to let her fingers explore the horse’s mane," Mattzela explains about the purpose of Beyond Boundaries. "She claps her hands in delight as the pace quickens and slows. It might sound like any child enjoying a horseback ride on a beautiful spring day. But this is no ordinary horseback ride. This rider is enjoying the benefits of ‘hippotherapy’ at Beyond Boundaries, an equine assisted therapy facility located in Ward, Arkansas."

The word "hippotherapy" comes from the Greek word for horse (hippo) and literally translates into "therapy using the horse."

"Every week riders come from all over the state to this very special place to benefit from this unique therapy," she said.

The practice of hippotherapy is relatively rare. Most equine assisted therapy centers focus on therapeutic riding. Therapeutic riding instruction is performed by a therapeutic riding instructor, instead of a therapist licensed in an actual discipline. Allied Therapy and Consulting provides licensed physical occupational and speech therapists that also have specific hippotherapy credentials to treat clients with a wide range of physical, mental and emotional disabilities.

Because of this specialized focus, Beyond Boundaries often serves clients who would never otherwise be able to participate in such activities. Beyond Boundaries and Allied Therapy also partner with the University of Central Arkansas’ Physical Therapy Department to conduct studies and research regarding the effects and benefits of hippotherapy. As the horse is the only animal whose pelvic movement mimics that of a human, horses are a dynamic tool for clients with limited mobility.

"Due to the multidimensional movement created by the horse which is rhythmic and repetitive, the horse provides a foundation and base for these riders to improve balance, trunk control and core strength," she said. "The dynamic outdoor environment also makes hippotherapy an ideal tool for children for sensory issues such as autism spectrum disorders."

Beth Stamp, executive director of Beyond Boundaries, added, "It’s amazing to put together a horse…and someone with a disability because there seems to be a sense that they understand each other, and they realize that they both have needs that they can meet together."