Middleburg, VA | Oct. 26, 2020

In the midst of the most challenging of years – and after much deliberation – Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Education Center armed itself with an abundance of determination, courage and enthusiasm – not to mention masks and hand-sanitizer – and hosted the 2020 Sprout “Grit and Grace” Gala that was attended by 78 of their most devoted friends and donors.

The funds raised at the “Grit and Grace” Gallop Gala will support Sprout’s mission to provide hope, healing, empowerment and recovery through partnerships with their highly trained horses and a committed community of instructors and volunteers. The generosity of those who attended will help Sprout to raise public awareness about special needs and will provide dynamic learning, recreation, socialization and therapy opportunities for individuals and groups at the Sprout Center in Aldie, VA.

The Sprout arena was transformed into an elegant venue by Pristine Acres. Friends and partners throughout our community made the evening extraordinary. Superb wine was provided by Greenhill Winery in Middleburg, Solace Brewery provided hugely popular selections of beer, chandeliers from Bella Villa Rentals added a touch of sophistication & style. Delicious hors d’oeurves and a wonderful dinner prepared by Purple
Onion Catering Co.
were enjoyed by one and all. And boot stompin’ music from the Wil Gravatt Band blew everyone away!

The highlight of the evening came when Founder and Executive Director Brooke Waldron shared one Sprout student’s awe-inspiring story of hope, courage, determination and sheer joy. Josie had been riding at Sprout since she was two years old, starting in Sprout’s physical therapy program for help overcoming a traumatic birth injury. For four years Josie came to Sprout and worked; stretching, strengthening and conditioning as Cowboy – Sprout’s 2020 Horse of the Year walked – for an estimated 480,000 grueling… sometimes tear-filled steps.

But every week she came back, and every week she moved a little further in the direction of her DREAM. To one day, ride Cowboy – all by herself. So, one afternoon, with a storm on the horizon and after years of hard work and determination, Josie fixed her gaze on the top of the hill. She kicked with all her might. She grabbed opportunity by the mane. And when logic said she’d surely fall…JOSIE FLEW!

It was an evening – and a story – that no one will soon forget! In an effort to be prudent and somewhat realistic, Sprout revised their income goals to reflect a considerably smaller attendance (one-third of normal numbers). To their surprise, the devoted attendees responded with such remarkable kindness and generosity that Sprout’s projections were surpassed by approximately 30 percent! Adding another miracle in the midst of adversity to the story of Sprout.

Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Education Center is dedicated to changing lives through equine assisted activities and therapies. Sprout provides hope, healing, empowerment and recovery through partnerships with horses. Find out more at sproutcenter.org.