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'Horses for Huntington's' gallops into Effingham
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A view of the estate grounds. - photo by Photo by Ralna Pearson

Effingham County residents regularly bemoan the lack of good quality restaurants here. Usually it means driving 30 minutes to Savannah or to Tybee for the food and drinks they want.

Cindy Arnsdorff, secretary of the Lowcountry Huntington’s Disease Group, Inc. doesn’t understand this when they can get the same thing here.

On Oct. 28, the group will host Horses for Huntington’s, a lavish equestrian event bringing together fine food, horse demonstrations and a silent auction to benefit the neurological disease.

Chef Nick Mueller will coordinate special around-the-world food stations representing the origins of major horse breeds. These include Northern Europe, Southern Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America.

Desserts and breads from each region will be served. The Ogeechee Technical College’s culinary school will prepare the breads and Savannah Tech’s culinary school will provide the desserts.

In addition, Chef Robbie Woods from Georges’ of Tybee, Creative Catering, Mac Salter of York Street Deli, Paul Ganem of Johnny Ganem’s, Rancho Alegre and others will prepare additional treats.

“I am always hearing in Effingham County that we want some nice restaurants. Well, Effingham County, you are getting some of the best restaurants, some of the best chefs in Chatham to come to Effingham County on a Sunday afternoon,” Arnsdorff said.

Horse demonstrations will be performed by the Georgia Southern University Equestrian team, which is headed by Eleanor Ellis of Evermore Farms. James Cooler, horseman and manager of the Rose Dhu Creek Equestrian Center in Bluffton, also will participate. Guests will be able to see dressage, jump, roping, barrel and Western demonstrations among others. A parade of horses featuring a thoroughbred, quarter horses, a Rocky Mountain, an Arabian and more also will be held.

Items for the silent auction include a $5,000 sculpture commission by highly regarded sculptor Isaac Mock who has sculpted for actor Robert Redford, a two-night stay at an equestrian bed and breakfast in Madison, riding lessons and other treats.

“Nothing like this in Effingham has been done,” Arnsdorff noted.

She said the LHDG could have held the event at other locations, but chose a beautiful, private estate here in the county. The property presents a storybook setting with its lovely landscaping, relaxing atmosphere and pretty horses.

Huntington’s Disease is genetically programmed brain cell degeneration, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Arnsdorff added that it can affect cognition, behavior and movement.

It generally occurs in a person’s prime between the ages 30-50 and progresses over 15-20 years, ultimately ending in death. Over 30,000 people in the U.S. have HD with 10 percent of sufferers being children. More than 250,000 people in this country are at risk of having it.

The funds raised will go to support and education. The LHDG provides networking, support and social outlets for sufferers and their families.

“We are here so said people with HD in families don’t think they’re alone,” Arnsdorff remarked.

Huntington’s Disease shares similarities with other well-known neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s. However, unlike them, HD receives a fraction of the attention.

Part of this may be because sufferers fear speaking out about it because they could lose relationships, their insurance, even their jobs if others find out they have HD. The disease will inevitably progress.

The gates open at 11 a.m. and tickets are $100 each. For children age 12 and under the cost is $5 and for teens the cost is $20. A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible.

For more information about HD or the event, call Cindy Arnsdorff at 754-1854 or visit