VERMONT/NEW HAMPSHIRE - Over the past six years, Lois Steele Whidden, of Saxtons River, has mounted four horseback Rides for the Cure in her home state and two in New Hampshire, with proceeds benefitting the local Komen affiliate, Susan G. Komen Vermont-New Hampshire. To date, the six rides have netted more than $200,000.

"The important thing to remember is that 75 percent of the monies we raise stays local," said Whidden, " It's granted out to breast health organizations and programs in Vermont and New Hampshire annually. This past year, we granted $350,000 to 11 organizations in the two states. The other 25 percent of the money we raise goes to breast cancer research." The Third Annual New Hampshire Ride for the Cure will be held on Aug. 30 at Hillsborough County 4-H Foundation, in New Boston, N.H., and the Fifth Annual Vermont Ride will be on Monday, Oct. 13 - Columbus Day - at Green Mountain Horse Association in South Woodstock, VT. Both are 10 mile pleasure rides that will award prizes for the top fundraiser (riders commit to raising a minimum of $250) and the pinkest horse in several categories. Breakfast and lunch options will be available at both rides.

"The rides really are quite the experience," said Whidden, a three-time breast cancer survivor. "Both are in beautiful settings. The New Hampshire Ride is in high summer, which is always nice, and the Vermont Ride is smack in the middle of foliage season. Absolutely breathtaking."

But what makes the rides truly special, she says, are the people.

"Everyone's there for a good time, sure, but I'd guess that everyone involved has also been touched by breast cancer one way or another, whether they're survivors, like me, or the mothers, daughters, aunts or friends of someone who's in treatment now or already lost the battle. We ride to honor them all, and to raise money to continue the fight."

Riders may register and fundraise for either or both rides online at www.komenvtnh.org and check out some photos from past events on the rides' Facebook pages, Susan G. Komen Ride for the Cure VT and Susan G. Komen Ride for the Cure NH.

For more information on the rides, the local affiliate, and breast cancer in general, visit the website or call 888-550-CURE.