Indianapolis 500 drivers race tricycles to benefit TherAplay
By Mark Ambrogi
Indy 500 driver Jay Howard marvels at the special mission of Children’s TherAplay, which uses the movement of horses to help children with special nees.
“What an amazing facility,” Howard said. “Seeing what these people do with the animals and how they interact with the kids is just amazing. We’re fortunate to have a facility like this in our back yard. People can tell you about (hippotherapy), but until you come here and see what they do, it’s mind-blowing.”
Hippotherapy is the use of horseback riding as a therapeutic method of improving coordination, balance and strength. Howard, a Carmel resident, won the second Horsepower500, an adaptive tricycle race with IndyCar drivers, May 9 at Children’s TherAplay in Carmel.
Howard was partnered with Bentley Kindley, a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy. They were riding as Team A.J., named after a therapy dog.
Bentley has been coming to TherAplay once a week for two years.
“When he first started coming here, he was crawling, and now he’s walking with crutches,” said his mother, Courtney Kindley of Frankfort.
Howard said Bentley was shy in the beginning.
“But he started warming up and loved every minute of it, as did all the kids and drivers,” Howard said. “To see his face (after the win) was priceless. That’s why we do this. It’s all about the kids.”
The last time Howard was on a tricycle was at an Indiana Pacers game several years ago.
“I think we got lucky with a good lane,” Howard said of the win.
Twelve IndyCar drivers participated. Indy 500 rookie Spencer Pigot placed second in the race, and Connor Daly was third.
Indianapolis resident Anders Krohn, NBC Sports analyst for motor sports, is a board member and spokesman for Children’s TherAplay.
“Last year we were blown away by how many people wanted to come, and this year it just blew out of proportion,” Krohn said. “What’s great about the IndyCar community is everyone comes together for a great cause like this. Every single person we reached out to said yes, they wanted to do this.”
Approximately 550 people attended the fundraiser. Following the tricycle race, the drivers signed autographs.