RIDE A HORSE – GRANT A WISH
Mary Neufeld was only nine years old when she showed up at her friend’s barn to experience her first pony ride. It was a glorious day in Mary’s life as she instantly developed a love of horses, which endures to this day.
Her lifelong admiration for horses led to her becoming an endurance racer, competing in rides that encompassed 50 miles in one day.
In 1997, Mary attended the Endurance Riders Association of BC’s Annual General Meeting. A letter was read from Walter White, founder and then coordinator of the Provincial Wish Trail Ride for the BC and Yukon Chapter of Children’s Wish.
“I was so moved when they read the letter from Walter. He was asking if anyone wanted to help out this great cause for Children’s Wish. And my hand just shot up!”Mary exclaims. “My two passions in life are children and horses so this was the perfect fit and the perfect charity to support.”
Now, going on her 12th year as a volunteer with Children’s Wish, Mary has been instrumental in increasing the rides from 7 or 8 per year up to approximately 20 per year, currently.
She also conceived the slogan Ride a Horse – Grant a Wish.
“This slogan soon caught on and became our headliner for all advertising in local newspapers and horse magazines throughout BC. It seems so fitting to say that we ride our horses for such a worthwhile and amazing cause. To do something we all love like riding and at the same time, to be able to raise money for children with life threatening illnesses is a legacy that we can be proud of, ”Mary explains.
Mary has expanded the ride to many new locations leading to greater exposure and awareness for Children’s Wish.
Under Mary’s caring tutelage the ride has grown steadily from raising $50,000 annually for the chapter to now raising over $120,000 per year.
Mary’s dream is to raise $1 million for the children of BC and Yukon. She is almost there with a total of over $800,000 and ten more rides to go in the 2010 ride season.
Mary’s dedication and commitment to Children’s Wish is unwavering and her purpose has been clear from her first ride. “It’s always been about the children and their wishes. That is the reason so many of our riders and volunteers have been working so hard over the past number of years. At every ride location we hear about a child who has received a wish because of our wish rides and we are all so proud to be a part of this gift to the children.”