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Blue jeans worn for WETRA Barn Bash

two women petting

Over the years the Windsor Essex Therapeutic Riding Association (WETRA) has become much more than a place for individuals with special needs to bond with horses.

There are rabbits, chickens, cats, pigs and goats who all call the McGregor farm their home and who are a big part of the family.

WETRA opened its doors once again Saturday night for another exciting fundraising event, a popular one as it hosted its third annual Barn Bash. It’s an opportunity for visitors to wear their blue jeans, cowboy hats and boots and have some fun while supporting a great cause.

“People like casual. Galas are becoming less popular,” said WETRA executive director Becky Mills.

WETRA began back in 1971 and with the generosity of the public who attend such events, continue to provide equine-oriented activities for the purpose of social well-being for those with disabilities.

“This year, for the first time, we had the most people who never experienced WETRA before,” noted Mills.

One individual who has been coming to the farm for decades is Michael Bruce. On Saturday he helped out selling tickets and along with his parents Mike and Arla Peters joined in the festivities.

“He rode a horse until about a year ago. Now he rides Quincy, a mechanical horse,” explained Arla.

Arla says that when her son first came to WETRA he laid on top of a horse and then, as time progressed, his strength increased to the point where he sat fully up as the horse trotted.

“Not only did it help with his core strength but his self-confidence.”

There was lots to do at the Barn Bash that began with a cocktail hour in the barn, followed by dinner and lots of activities including live and silent auctions, axe-throwing and for the adventurous, a ride on a mechanical bull.

As far as the other animals that call WETRA home, Mills said it was part of a program that started during Covid, where interaction with horses became difficult so visitors were able to interact with the other four-legged friends.

“We need to get families here so we got the small animals. They stayed because they are ours now.”

Mills added that WETRA now has a co-ordinator that facilitates specific lesson plans for those who prefer interacting with animals other than horses.

For more information and if you are interested in volunteering at WETRA, call 519-726-7682 or go to

Blue jeans worn for WETRA Barn Bash

By Fred Groves


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