A horse-filled day of fun is coming to Mariposa Farms in Canton on Sept. 5 to raise money for the non-profit organization BEATS, which is located at the property.

Bethany’s Equine and Aquatic Therapy Services, or BEATS, is a therapy company that specializes in the use of hippotherapy and aquatic therapy as primary tools of treating children and adults with disabilities. This therapy helps to improve balance, muscle strength and speech.

The event, which BEATS is calling Derby Days, will help to raise money for the organization which, like many others, has had to cancel planned events and annual fundraising activities because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We had a meeting about a month ago to try to come up with fundraising ideas because we had to cancel everything that we had planned on doing because of the pandemic,” BEATS Physical Therapist Gabi Camacho said. “We thought since the derby was postponed this year we could start our own.”

While the organization is moving forward with a fundraising event during the pandemic, organizers are taking measures to make it as safe as possible.

Due to lingering concerns with COVID-19, Nugent said that BEATS is planning live feeds of the jumping events and spectators will still be able to pick their horses online if they don't want to come in person.

For those who will be in attendance, Comacho said that there will be hand sanitizing stations located at the farm and that BEATS is requesting visitors wear a mask.

Camacho said that Derby Days will have a jumping competition called “Gambler’s Choice,” where variations of jumps worth different point totals will be set up. The riders taking part in the competition will have a few minutes to set up their own course to go through to perform as many jumps as possible. There will be a separate competition where riders will attempt to jump over an increasingly raised bar.

The event will also have a kids area for activities, as well as an area for event-goers to relax and watch the competitions.

“We will have a hat and stick horse making stations for the kids, and the kids will get to race on their stick horses,” Camacho said. “We will also have a photo booth, drinks, mint juleps, and barbecue from Choates BBQ at the barn.”

There will be a 50-50 raffle at the event, with tickets going on sale Aug. 15 at the barn and on the company website. BEATS Founder Bethany Nugent added that participants in the raffle do not need to be in attendance to participate in the raffle, and that last year's winner of a raffle received $4,075.

“Like everyone, we have no idea how long COVID-19 will be affecting our way of life and we are dependent on fundraising to continue to offer services,” Nugent said. “So we are hoping people will forget all the things that have gone wrong in 2020 and just spend an afternoon having fun and supporting a great organization so that our clients can continue to receive services and our horses get the care they deserve.”

Tickets for the event are available online and at the gate. For competitors, registration will be due online by Aug. 31.

The event will start at 1 and run until 4:30 p.m. at 75 Red Gate Trail in Canton. Tickets and registration are available at http://www.beats-inc.org.

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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