The Headless Horseman awaits the Monster Dash and Goblin Gallup at Medicine Horse Farm.
MORRISONVILLE — It seemed more like early evening than morning under an overcast sky as bright orange and yellow leaves fell from the trees lining the winding dirt road and onto the heads of hungry zombies.
They hid just off the lonely road, some crouching behind fallen rock walls, others breathing heavily, waiting as the oblivious runners approached.
Then, just as the first group of 10 or less crossed their path, they erupted from the forest and grabbed the racer’s pink flags, growling as some runners employed football fakes to escape unscathed, shrieking as they quickened their pace.
“We love chasing people in the woods, and we like to help out the community,” said Kyle Kelly, a Plattsburgh State student, member of the school’s baseball team and zombie for a day. “We do a lot of community service events.”
Hundreds gathered at Medicine Horse Farm in Morrisonville for the Monster Dash 5k and Goblin Gallup Kids Fun Run. The event was held to help raise funds for an indoor arena to help benefit the facility’s therapeutic programs.
“Last year the event helped raise funds for a heating system,” said Marie Postiglione-Dupell, who owns Medicine Horse Farm, a nonprofit organization and PATH International Center dedicated to serving those with physical, medical and emotional disabilities.
Medicine Horse promotes physical wellness and emotional healing in partnership with horses.
PATH International was founded in 1969 to promote safe and effective therapeutic riding for the handicapped throughout the United States and Canada. It has nearly 800 member centers and more than 6,300 individual members worldwide who help more than 42,000 men, women and children with special needs yearly through a variety of equine-assisted activity and therapy programs.
The 5k course consisted of a wooded cross country trail system, while the 1-mile Goblin Gallup course took children through a corn maze and enchanted forest cross country trail system.
Mimi Hawley, dressed as a harvest fairy, stood along the children’s course with Lilly, a horse at the facility dressed as a unicorn.
“It is remarkable what Marie does for the community,” Hawley said.
Jackie Curilla, her son Luke and friend, Patrick Hagadorn, completed the Goblin Gallup.
“We are here for fun and to support a great organization and to be chased by goblins,” said Curilla, a physical therapist at CVPH Medical Center.
Those who gathered for the event dressed up as ninjas, witches, Batman, Angry Birds, Dorothy and Toto and more.
As they walked around the grounds, the Headless Horseman, dressed in black atop a giant black horse, kept watch.
Barbie Ero-Oneil’s son Gage is on the autism spectrum and participates at Medicine Horse.
“He loves the horses and he speaks a lot here, which is something he doesn’t normally do.”
Darlene Burl arrived as Dr. Frankenstein with her grandson, Danny, who was dressed as Frankenstein. Her grandson has been attending Medicine Horse for one year.
“Many therapists said he would not be able to do certain things, and he is able to do those things because of Medicine Horse,” Burl said.
Postiglione-Dupell serves 24 people who range in age from 3 to adults and would like to help more individuals. But issues such as weather cause scheduling conflicts as well as an interruption in services, which results in regression for some individuals.
“We want to extend our hours and take on more individuals who need our services, and we don’t want folks who are medically compromised to have interrupted services,” Postiglione-Dupell said. “There are a lot of people who need services.”
Anyone interested in learning more and/or supporting Medicine Horse Farm should visit medicinehorsefarm.org.