Governor Bob McDonnell recently appointed Nancy Paschall, executive director for Dream Catchers at the Cori Sikich Therapeutic Riding Center, to the Virginia Horse Industry Board.
Paschall has over 30 years of experience in the horse industry and has been executive director at the nonprofit Dream Catchers since 2005. As a board member, she will represent the interests of the 33 therapeutic horsemanship centers across the Commonwealth and help bring more awareness of the centers to the professional horse industry, according to a press release from Dream Catchers.The appointments are based on nominations made by the horse industry.
Paschall is a member of the Virginia Horse Council, and a National Walking Horse and Walking Horse Owners of America licensed judge.
“Therapeutic horsemanship introduces many people to horses for the first time to experience the joys and benefits of riding,” said Paschall. “Students benefit from strengthened muscles, improved balance and even improved symptoms of autism, as learned from the results of our recent study with the College of William and Mary.
“Volunteers, who in today’s difficult economic times may not have the opportunity to take horseback riding lessons, are able to learn about and be involved with horses and see the benefits of therapeutic riding first-hand.”
She noted that therapeutic horsemanship centers are not generally rescue organizations, but they do give horses that are no longer able to compete or do not have the endurance to ride long distances a new career.
Paschall joins three other appointments to the Board. Other appointments are new member David R. Lands of Gloucester, Director of Operations for the 192nd Intelligence Squadron for the Virginia Air National Guard, and the re-appointments of Beryl Herzog of Beaverdam, Owner of Green Bay Morgans Farm and Eleanor Jones of Disputanta.
Appointees become part of a 12-member board that includes the presidents of the Virginia Horse Council, the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, the Virginia Horse Shows Association, the Virginia Quarter Horse Association as well as the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Horse Extension Specialist from Virginia Tech.
The Virginia Horse Industry Board promotes the horse industry in the Commonwealth through a variety of efforts including sponsorships in its grant program to support education, marketing and research. To date, the Board has awarded more than $800,000 in grants to promote the horse industry in Virginia.
Dream Catchers is a nonprofit that offers more than 4,000 therapeutic riding lessons each year to help children and adults with special needs reach their potential and make their dreams come true.