Lewis Strahl probably had no idea when he made his gift of land in 2009, that the 20-acre pasture would someday become the vibrant home of life changing programs. Beginning with their 2013 season, Edelweiss Equine Assisted-Therapy, Inc. hopes to open for business at a new location: 531 W. 100 S., Greenfield, land owned by the Hancock County Community Foundation, thanks to Lewis’s gift. “The HCCF Board of Directors defined an arrangement that allows HCCF to fulfill the charitable wishes of Lewis, as well as provide a home for an organization that improves the lives of children and adults with disabilities. “We couldn’t be more pleased,” says Mary Gibble. “This endeavor is perfectly matched with the mission of HCCF to enrich and enhance life both by administering donors’ charitable intent and strengthening nonprofit organizations that serve the community.”
Appropriate zoning requirements will need to be met to finalize the arrangement. Once confirmed, Edelweiss will sign a three-year lease agreement for the Strahl pasture based on fair market value plus 5%. Fair market value is determined by the Purdue Agricultural Economics Report for pastureland in Central Indiana. The ease will allow Edelweiss to renew for two additional three-year terms.
The mission of Edelweiss is to provide equine-assisted therapy for children and adults with special needs to support their physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral disabilities in a safe and stimulating environment. Edelweiss is certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) and currently offers three programs: Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Therapeutic Carriage Driving and a Veterans Horseback Riding Program, offered free of charge to any veteran in need. Programs are offered mid-April through mid-October and the center is closed in the winter due to lack of indoor facilities. In the beginning there were two horses and 25 volunteers in the program. Edelweiss has since grown to serving 75 riders annually with the assistance of 10 horses and 130 volunteers. Since its inception the organization has resided on the five acre farm of the Bowen family located five miles south of Greenfield on State Road 9.
“It is exciting that, after only 10 years, Edelweiss has outgrown our facility, thanks to the help of hundreds of volunteers and the continuous support of many individual, club, and corporate donors, Edelweiss has become an important part of the lives and personal development of our many riders.”
Dr. Richard Bowen