Ponying Up For A Good Cause
Private Kansas Equestrian Center Houses Two Nonprofit Programs
Katy Harcsar has been passionate about horses since she was in the second grade — the year she got her first pony. Excited to share her love of equines with her daughter, she set out to build a private barn near their Kansas residence that would also include space for her therapeutic riding program.
“My main goal was to build a barn that my little girl could ride in and grow up around horses in a safe, fun atmosphere,” she says.
Budget was a major factor for Harscar as well. She had priced several building methods and, by the time she was ready to break ground, costs had gone up astronomically.
Post frame was able to deliver the structure she needed at a price she could afford —and on a construction schedule that worked for her needs.
Harcsar met with post-frame specialists Quality Structures Inc. (QSI) in Richmond, KS. Between early November 2014 and January 2015 — in only 53 working days — her dream became a reality, now known as Wood’s Edge Equestrian Center.
“I would recommend QSI a thousand times over,” Harcsar says. “They were wonderful. They did a great job.”
Located in Olathe, KS, Wood’s Edge consists of a conjoined 8,600-square-foot horse barn, a 14,700-square-foot riding arena and a 1,200-square-foot office/admin area and viewing lounge.
The barn can accommodate up to 22 horses and includes two open-front wash bays with heated water and seven hinged Dutch doors with yoke inserts. Harcsar also custom designed railings for the stalls that prevent the horses from getting injured if they rub up against them. The riding arena features three sandstone-colored overhead doors, custom sidelight windows and three 4-foot cupolas.
Beyond the beautiful aesthetics, Harcsar’s favorite feature of the structure is the airflow, and the ability to have all of the doors and windows open.
“Airflow is a major thing when you’re dealing with horses,” she says. “It’s crazy when horses exhale how much humidity comes out, so you really do need a lot of airflow. In the cupolas, I put exhaust fans so even if the doors are shut, I can still get the exhaust and humidity out of the barn so it stays dry. And then I have the Dutch doors to help too.”
The facility is home to Harcsar’s therapeutic PATH-certified program called REACH (Rider’s Edge Ability of Centered Horsemanship), as well as the Southwind Pony Club — part of the United States Pony Clubs.
“Horses can teach us so much,” Harcsar says. “That’s why so many programs are built around them. There’s a bond that kids find with horses — the responsibility of taking care of something that’s bigger and greater than they are. Horses can help build self-esteem. There are studies about how beneficial riding is for kids learning how to walk again, or dealing with anxiety. It’s very therapeutic, even for able-bodied people. It can be a Zen moment.”
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