Murder mystery dinner fundraiser will help equestrian therapy program in Poway
Do you like solving mysterious Agatha Christie murders? Then “One, two, three. Look it’s me! ”In Poway could be for you.
Eight performances of the Murder Mystery interactive dinner will take place at 5:45 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from September 24 to October 16.
The show is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Huufprints Riding Therapy & Rescue Stables, which has been present in Poway since 2009. Many of the riding students in the Huufprints Therapy Program are autistic, with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or emotional problems due to bullying and personal circumstances. including being in the foster care system, owner Tammie Joyce said.
“We have seen incredible breakthroughs with these children, seen the benefits manifest,” said Joyce, explaining that there is a connection between the calm movements of a horse and the rider creating beneficial physical changes.
Fundraiser organizer Caroline Grondin, who wrote, directed and produced the improv show, said her goal was to raise $ 5,000 for Huufprints so he could make major repairs in the installation.
Shows, intended for adults, are limited to 30 participants per performance. Each show is about 2.5 hours long, said Grondin. Participants will park at the Mount Olive Lutheran Church at 14280 Poway Road and then be transported to the nearby house where the outdoor event is taking place.
Tickets are $ 88 per person, which includes the show and dinner. The menu options are chicken piccata, sea bass or Greek salad from Mainstream Bar & Grill in Poway. Buy tickets on OurBackyardPresents.com.
In “One, two, three. Look It’s Me! In the past 10 years, the world’s most famous concert pianists have been murdered, and Imogene Prancer (played by Kimberly Justice) realizes she could be next. This prompts her to try to identify the killer during an intimate dinner with friends. Some of the characters to feature include the Gardener and Chief Inspector (both played by Keith Duell), the Gypsy (also played by Justice), the Housekeeper (Laura Nguyen) and the Tomb Wanderer (Elijah Moore).
“It’s comedic fun… with burlesque improvisation,” said Grondin.
She said she came up with the idea for the fundraiser after being introduced to Joyce by a mutual friend and learning more about Huufprints’ rescue and therapy programs.
Huufprints started in 2009 as a summer job for Joyce’s then 15-year-old daughter Danielle, who began teaching riding with the family’s three horses. The stables are a few blocks from Garden Road, near Poway Grade, and the riders have been taken to the Poway trails. The classes turned out to be so popular that the Joyce family decided to turn them into a family business that also included their youngest daughter Sydnie.
In addition to horseback riding lessons, they offered educational programs for Girl Scout troops, home schooling programs and other groups, Joyce said.
A few years later, a child with cerebral palsy began attending classes, which is when the therapy program began, Joyce said. At that time, his daughter Danielle was completing a two-year certification program in dressage and equine massage at Meredith Manor in West Virginia.
Joyce said the therapy program has attracted new students through word of mouth from families who have seen positive changes in their children’s physical and emotional well-being. Huufprints has a Facebook page, but no website due to the cost.
One student who had seizures noticed a decrease in them after riding lessons, she said. Some children with autism who weren’t verbal started talking and another who struggled with stuttering by speaking improved dramatically, she said.
Huufprints, a state-registered 501c3 nonprofit, never turns away students if their family’s financial situation changes due to job loss or other circumstances, Joyce said. Students have helped stables “pay” for their lessons, and in other cases donors have provided scholarships to cover weekly 30-minute or one-hour lessons.
“We never refuse a child,” she said.
During the pandemic, some of the 27 students in the program came more frequently than their traditional weekly lessons, as horseback riding was one of the few activities they could do, Joyce said.
Huufprints, who started with the family’s three horses, now has five horses plus a mini horse, with the new arrivals being rescues. Horses rescued in the program must be fully trained, Joyce said.
Students learn to work and care for horses using “horseback riding natural research” techniques, she explained.
As for fundraising, Joyce said she would “make a huge dent” in Huufprints’ equipment and facility repair needs.
To purchase tickets for the event, visit OurBackyardPresents.com. For more information on Huufprints’ horseback riding programs, call 858-371-1652.