DRIPPING SPRINGS (KXAN) A therapeutic riding center in Dripping Springs, working to empower people through horseback riding, is expanding.

RED Arena is offering a day program for adults with disabilities to create home decor from recycled materials to sell in its gift shop.

This week, the nonprofit is hosting a Valentine’s sale with the proceeds benefitting its program for special needs.

This will help people like Jason Cribbs, a 38-year-old with down syndrome, who regularly rides horses at RED Arena.

His father Tom says that this is one of the only activities available for autistic adults in Central Texas.

“Once you get off that yellow school bus, that’s it,“ Cribbs said. “You know, you have to look for things for him to do.”

Jennifer Young founded RED Arena in 2008. Starting with only six children in physical therapy on horses, the nonprofit has grown to serve over 200 children and adults of all ability levels each week.

“When our kids graduate from high school and don’t go to college, there’s often not a lot for them to do during the day,” she said.

Recently, RED Arena expanded its adult day programming to include craft creations.

All the materials being worked with are recycled scrap from the equestrian center’s renovation, which was complete in 2021.

“They can be expressive with art and get a lot of social time,” Young said.

Despite dealing with difficulties brought about by cerebral palsy, Will Kesler works in the gift shop.

“This is not another ordinary job where you go in, collect your paycheck and things of that nature,” he said. “Everybody’s here because they want to be here. They enjoy what they do and believe in our mission.”

“We’ve seen new friendships created here,” Young added. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t have met each other or seen each other.”

Filling a gap when it comes to care for his son, Cribbs says this has been a huge help.

“Jason has just got the biggest smile on his face,” he Cribbs said. “As his parent, I always wonder what he can do, and now, I see the work that he’s done here and I’m amazed.”

On Saturday, RED Arena will host a Valentine’s market at its Dripping Springs location from 12-3 p.m.

It’ll include a wide variety of local vendors, food and music, and 20% of all proceeds raised will benefit adults with disabilities.

To learn more about RED Arena, you can visit its website.