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Saving Grace hopes to continue meaningful services at new location

By Josh Bergeron 

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Braeden Culp may be a perfect example of positive change because of programs at Saving Grace Farm.

For the past three years, the 10-year-old boy has regularly come to Saving Grace Farm to ride and interact with horses. He now writes school papers about Dakota, a horse at Saving Grace Farm, said Culp’s mother, Allison. Braeden also makes sure to bring Dakota a treat during every visit to Saving Grace. He has also benefitted socially from interacting with the horses, Allison Culp said.

“He’s clearly not afraid of crowds anymore,” she said, as her son eagerly awaited riding Dakota on Sunday as part of a demonstration.

After years of riding at Saving Grace, Allison Culp said her son is more likely to engage with larger groups of children. He’s more outgoing, she said.

Grinning from ear to ear on Sunday, Braeden stepped onto a mounting block — useful for riders who aren’t able to mount a horse on their own. With a bit of help, he hopped onto Dakota and headed into a fenced riding area. At times, Braeden remained focused on directing the horse. Mostly, he just smiled. As he rode Dakota backward, with no hands, Braeden couldn’t help but show off a small grin.

The demonstration was part of an open house at Saving Grace Farm’s new location on Jackson Road — south of Faith and west of Rockwell. The event included barbecue, games, vendors and other activities.

As Braeden rode Dakota in the background, Saving Grace Executive Director Janna Griggs talked about the benefits of the nonprofit’s work. The farm offers therapeutic riding lessons, veterans programs, services for people with disabilities, beginner lessons, group programs and a summer camp.

Saving Grace Farm was previously located north of Salisbury off of Old Mocksville Road.

The total acreage of Saving Grace Farm’s new location is smaller, but Griggs said the nonprofit will continue to offer the same services as before. The relocation has involved significant construction work, including the mounting block, large arena, fenced pasture and small sheltered area. Griggs said she’s optimistic about the future of Saving Grace Farm. A wheelchair ramp for riders is one item that wasn’t present at Saving Grace’s previous location.

“I think there’s lots of opportunity for growth and for us to continue providing our services to those who need it,” she said.

The same anecdote is true with a number of other children, Griggs said. She noted that children have spoken their first words when trying to tell a horse to move forward. For those who are paralyzed, Griggs said riding a horse can feel like walking. Some simply find comfort in the therapeutic programs offered by Saving Grace Farm.

Griggs said Saving Grace Farm will operate from Monday through Saturday by appointment at its new location. For more information about Saving Grace Farm, visit savinggracefarm.com or email janna@savinggracefarm.com

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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