As 7-year-old Jared Behr sat on the sidelines watching the riderless horseman competition at the second annual Horse and Scarecrow Festival at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead, a smile appeared on his face.
The Cutchogue boy loves to ride ponies. His pony’s name is Cupcake. Suffering from cerebral palsy, epilepsy and partial blindness doesn't stop Jared from enjoying the animals. His grandparents June and John Behr, were thrilled to bring Jared to the event.
“He rides his pony cupcake every Wednesday. He has been riding for the past three years,“ John Behr said.
Jared is one of the many children who ride ponies through IRIE Therapeutic Horseman Riders.
The festival was hosted by IRIE Therapeutic Horseman Riders, an organization that offers therapeutic riding for kids with special needs and the East End Livestock and Horseman's Association which encourages individuals to use horses and livestock in a recreational manner.
IRIE Founder Joy Rootkowski couldn't be happier about the impact the organization has on individuals’ lives.
“We are able to help a lot of families,” she said. “We love to see the children happy.”
The fun event offered something for everyone — horse competitions featuring palomino, quarter, shire and thoroughbreds in an obstacle course, best costume and apple bobbing.
“It's great fun for everybody,” said Amy Cirincione, board member with the East End Livestock and Horseman's Association.
The festival began as a way to raise funds for the two organizations.
The proceeds raised at the festival Saturday will be split evenly between the two groups. Last year, the event raised $2,200.
Mark Shaner, of Brooklyn brought his daughter Chloe. They dressed scarecrows together.
“Her grandmother lives about five minutes away from here,” he said. “This weekend is so nice that we couldn't help but come here.”
Pictured above: Chloe Shaner, 2, of Brooklyn dresses a scarecrow using straw during the Horse and Scarecrow Festival at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead. (Oct. 8, 2011)