Local equestrian group aims to aid disabled vet’s sick child

Posted on June 30, 2019 by Romi White

An equestrian group in East Milton is hosting a benefit barrel race for the child of U.S. Army disabled veteran Chris Bishop, a Department of Defense firefighter/paramedic assigned to NAS Whiting Field.

Bishop’s 8-year-old daughter, Addalynne, suffers from coronary heart disease (CHD), dysautonomia and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a heritable connective tissue disorder.

“Racing for Addalyne’s Heart” is being sponsored by the Blackwater Saddle Club and will take place August 10 at the June Ates Arena in East Milton.

Organizers say monies raised will be used to help the Bishop family travel to the Children’s Heart Institute in Herndon, Virginia to meet with a highly specialized team of CHD and dysautonomia providers to work on developing a more intensive specialized treatment plan to manage Addalyne’s conditions.

The Bishop family was living in Milton but recently relocated to Monroe County in Alabama. “Our rental home was being sold, and we found a home more centralized to all of her providers, treatments and therapies,” Chris told South Santa Rosa News on Tuesday.

His wife, Taylor, homeschools and takes care of Addalyne and the family’s four other children.

According to Taylor, Addalyne is an avid animal lover, enjoys all things nature and science.

But unlike other children her age, she often loses consciousness without warning and suffers debilitating joint and muscular pain.

Karina Gilliard saw firsthand the need and decided to take action.

“A few months ago Addalyne and her family attended an event at my home. During her stay Addalyne really connected with my mustang. After her visit, I started keeping up with her and inquiring about ways we could get her receiving some of the benefits horses have to offer,” said Gilliard.

After a a few short weeks of following her journey, Karina said she was shocked that there wasn’t a better avenue for her or way to manage her everyday life.

“As a mother, I cannot begin to imagine how it is to support your child through this or any other life threatening illness. It hit me that this could be anyone or anyone’s child.”

So she stepped up and recruited the equestrian club’s help.

“The Blackwater Saddle Club is a family and community oriented club that my family and I are active members in. As I shared my vision with them of helping Addalyne, they decided to invest in her wellness and pay it forward by sponsoring this event.”


This event aims to raise money to offset some of the medical bills and to help the family with the expenses of their upcoming trip to The Children’s Heart Institute in Virginia.

“We will have an inflatable area sponsored by Bouncy House Rentals LLC, concessions, face painting, silent auction, cake auction, barrel racing of course, and more,” said Gilliard.

The barrel race is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at June Ates Area, located at 8604 Bobby Brown Road in East Milton. For more information, contact Gilliard at rachingforaddalyne@gmail.com.