Category Archives: Equine Assisted Therapy

The EQUUS Foundation Announces 2010 Grant Awards

WESTPORT, CT – August 31, 2010 – The Board of Directors of The EQUUS Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the award of its 2010 grants to 60 charitable organizations that use the horse to benefit the public; promote the horse’s health and welfare; and advance the equestrian sport.

The EQUUS Foundation is dedicated to securing homes and useful lives for horses, enhancing the lives of people who benefit from horses, and educating the public on the significant impact horses have in our every day lives.

Today, millions of people are involved with horses – recreationally, competitively, and therapeutically. Age is not a limitation – horses are helping children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Therapeutically, our equine partners have long been helping individuals bear the burdens of disabilities and debilitating diseases as well as those coping with economic disadvantages and at-risk situations.

Most recently, horses are coming to the aid of children with autism. Autism represents perhaps the fastest growing population who can benefit from equine therapies. Based on Center for Disease Control (CDC) data, an average of 1 in 110 children have been diagnosed with autism, a 57% increase in the rate of diagnosis based on a 4-year CDC study conducted from 2002 to 2006. A U.S. Department of Education study determined that autism diagnosis is growing at a rate of 10-17% year.

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FEI Award Win Continues to Motivate Haitian Para-Equestrian

Darlene Milord and FEI President HRH Princess Haya at the 2009 FEI Awards ceremony (photo: FEI)

19 August 2010 – As the nomination deadline approaches for the annual awards organised by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Haitian Para-Equestrian winner of last year’s FEI Against All Odds Award is calling on the equestrian community to nominate individuals whose efforts deserve acknowledgement.

The Against All Odds Award is given to an individual who has overcome personal setbacks or physical disabilities to pursue equestrian sport. It is one of five FEI Awards that reward outstanding dedication to horse sport.

Orphan Darlene Milord, who was born with the medical condition hemiplegia, has represented her country at the Special Olympics. Her passion for horses evolved from the riding therapy she received as part of a special needs programme at the Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos orphanage in Haiti.

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Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center Victorious at Special Olympic State Equestrian Games

Brandon Boterf and Freckles garnered a gold medal in the Western Stock Seat Equitation, as well as a silver medal in the Working Trails at the Special Olympic State Equestrian Games. Photo Courtesy of the VTRC.

Loxahatchee, FL – May 27, 2010 – The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (VTRC) recently returned from the Special Olympic State Equestrian Games, held May 21-22, where 16 of their top students had the opportunity to compete. This year’s competition was held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL.

VTRC took home five gold medals, nine silver medals, nine bronze medals, five fourth place ribbons, two fifth place ribbons and one sixth place ribbon. The team representing VTRC included 16 riders who participated in 19 events. The events included English and western equitation, trail ride competition, dressage, and pole bending. VTRC had numerous riders compete in the level ‘A’ classes that requires them to walk, trot, and canter unassisted. Pole Bending proved to be one of the most successful events for VTRC as all of the athletes maneuvered exceptionally well through the poles.

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Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center Prepares for Special Olympic State Equestrian Games

Thomas Mickel represented Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center aboard Belle in a Western Equitation class with the help of volunteer Jamie Miller during the Special Olympic Area Equestrian Games. Photo Courtesy of VTRC

 Loxahatchee, FL – May 18, 2010 – Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (VTRC) is currently preparing to participate in the Special Olympic State Equestrian Games, which will be held May 21-22, 2010, in Tampa, Florida. Sixteen riders qualified for the Games after competing at the Area level March 27, 2010, in Ft. Pierce, FL.

During the Special Olympic State Equestrian Games riders will have the opportunity to compete in English and western equitation, trail ride competition, dressage, and pole bending. The riders representing VTRC range from needing full support with a leader and two sidewalks to independent riders who walk, trot, and canter on their own. They also have several riders competing in the training level dressage tests.

The qualified riders have been working on dressage test, equitation skills, pole bending, and barrel racing to prepare for the exciting competition. In addition to the 12 students traveling to the Games, six horses and 17 volunteers will be in Tampa for the event to support VTRC.

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Pegasus Therapeutic Riding’s Pegasus Farm Chapter Announces New Home for The Rider’s Closet

Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Collaborates with Georgina Bloomberg's The Rider's Closet. Photo is taken of the new location of The Rider's Closet. Photo © 2010

Brewster, New York – May 18, 2010 – Pegasus Therapeutic Riding’s Pegasus Farm chapter announced today that The Rider’s Closet program, developed by Georgina Bloomberg, will now be based out of Pegasus Therapeutic Riding’s Pegasus Farm chapter in Brewster, NY. The program originated four years ago, when Bloomberg wanted to donate her lightly used show clothing to a good cause, but was not sure where to start. The Rider’s Closet began as an endeavor to provide a place where all equestrians could donate their clothing so that other riders who may not be able to purchase their own riding attire and equipment could take advantage of these otherwise expensive items that had been outgrown, but were still in good condition.

Thus far, The Rider’s Closet has already proven to be of great value to a variety of programs, including, but not limited to a number of intercollegiate riding teams.  While The Rider’s Closet has been growing, so has Bloomberg’s equestrian career. Over the last few years, the demand has risen, and with Bloomberg traveling to various equestrian competitions around the world, she wanted to move The Rider’s Closet from a home-based operation, to a new home where it could get more attention. “I’m really excited about this move,” said Bloomberg. “It is a great situation for both the Rider’s Closet and the Pegasus Therapeutic Riding program. They have a first class program, one that I’ve been really impressed with over the years. I think the move will benefit a lot of equestrians on a number of different levels.”

Continue reading Pegasus Therapeutic Riding’s Pegasus Farm Chapter Announces New Home for The Rider’s Closet

Wilhelm Genn & Samantha Schaefer Score Big Wins at Week III of Jacksonville Winter Series

Green Cove Springs, FL­­ January 22, 2010 – The third week of competition at the 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series got in full swing this afternoon with the $5000 Open Jumper Classic being won by Lebanon, Ohio’s Wilhelm Genn, as both owner and rider, piloting the brilliant mare Happy Z.

Wilhem Genn on Happy Z (click for larger image)
Wilhem Genn on Happy Z (click for larger image)

Presented by Farm House Tack, the Jumper Classic served as a prelim to Saturday evening’s featured event, the $25,000 Marco Family Foundation benefitting H.O.R.S.E. Therapies, a nonprofit therapeutic equine program to air people with special needs as well as military personnel in the Horses for Heroes and Wounded Warriors programs. This week’s course designer Buddy Brown of Stanford, CA got a good gauge of the talent on hand while the competitors learned how tough grabbing that prize money would be with only 6 clean first rounds. Genn was the only rider to bring two mounts into jump off runs, Chantal for owner Laura Ryan-Barnaclo and his own Happy Z. Despite some fierce competition the afternoon’s glory belonged to the popular chestnut Happy Z whose winning time of 33.025 simply couldn’t be caught. “She’s very much like a fine wine- better with age.” a happy Genn proclaimed.
Finishing in second place was teenage phenom Samantha Schaefer riding Sugar Ray –owned by Schaefer- to a clear time of 35.980, third place to veteran rider-owner Mary Lisa Leffler taking Gerona 92 to a clean time of 37.000, fourth place went to Wisconsin based Denise Wilson aboard the Blue Gate Farm entry Life is Life with a clean time of 40.194, and completing the top five was Indiana’s own Erin McCabe as rider-owner of Midnight Hour finishing with 4 faults in a quick 33.825.

Samantha Schaefer on Castle (click for larger image)
Samantha Schaefer on Castle (click for larger image)

As evening fell the lights of the covered arena seem to shine extra brightly for rider Samantha Schaefer as the 16 year-old received top marks in the $10,000 Jerry Parks Insurance Group Hunter Classic. The number one horse of the evening was Castle, owned by Ashley Toffolon and piloted by Schaefer with a first round score of 169.500.

In all, 22 horses competed on the course designed by Paul Jewel of Lambertville, New Jersey. The class consisted of two sections, with amateurs and juniors jumping 3’6” while professionals had an option of 3’6” or 3’9” fences depending on the horse’s level. The layout of 10 fences required strenuous efforts of both horse and rider with its bending and broken lines throughout the course.  Judges Sue Ashe, William Sparks, and Chris Wayne presided over the scoring, returning only the top 12 pairs for round 2.

Schaefer is no stranger to winning this Classic- in 2007 she won aboard Lyle, the 17-year old German Warmblood then owned by Stephanie Keen and in 2008 with Lazy Sunday, a 9 year-old Zangersheide owned by Keli Colby at the time. Schaefer has made transitioning from being one of the nations most acclaimed pony riders to a top junior rider look effortless, but will be the first to say it’s only through daily hard work that she’s stays in the upper rankings. Sixth in the order, Castle and Schaefer finished the first round strong with combined judges’ score of 168. “I was very confident coming into the class with him [Castle] because I knew he would go right around, if anything it would just interest him a little bit and maybe spark him up a little, because he’s a really quiet easy going horse.” Schaefer said of the 11 year-old Dutch Warmblood, who along with both owner Ashley Toffolon and on occasion Schaefer train with Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm in New York. 

Regarding their round one ride Schaefer admitted, “I needed a lot of lead changes in the first class and I should have asked him in a few places to land on the correct lead, so that may have made it not quite as smooth.” Those who know Schaefer well will state she is always far more critical of her rides than any judge, as evidenced by the duo’s scores. “But in the second round he landed on every lead so it all flowed really well. He kind of glided around- real nice! He’s really good at this type of class because he’s brave and just awesome!” Schaefer added. The pair’s second round score of 177 was added to give a total score of 345. As things progressed Schaefer’s biggest competition became herself.

Corvet Z a 12 year-old Zangersheide gelding, also ridden by Schaefer and owned by Manhattan Mortgage Co., Inc. actually led the first round with a score of 169.50. “He’s just coming off of a little vacation and he was just great! In the second round I got a little excited at the last jump and he just nicked it a bit but overall he was really nice.” Schaefer said of her second place winning mount that finished with a combined total of 334.50.  “I really have to thank Don Stewart for all his help! And Kim Stewart…and Andre…it’s really a team effort and I’m the fortunate one who benefits from them all.” a beaming Schaefer said.

Schaefer has become a master of balance, both in and out of the saddle as she juggles the pressures of high school and a full competition schedule with the appearance of ease. She explained, “I attend a special school that is a self paced type, when I’m not showing I do a lot more. I’m in a classroom about 3 hours a day and some online class work. It’s scheduled for me, which is really good because I have a structure to follow that’s well organized. I work really hard late fall and early winter to get ahead and now [show season] I have two classes to finish up while I’m here.”  After the Jacksonville Winter Series the precocious Schaefer will take a week off to relax at school before heading to compete in West Palm Beach.

Official results for the $10,000 Jerry Parks Insurance Group Hunter Classic were:

1st Place- Samantha Schaefer and Castle owned by Ashley Toffolon
2nd Place- Samantha Schaefer and Corvet Z owned by Manhattan Mortgage Co., Inc
3rd Place- Shawn Casady and Eastwood owned by Kelly Tropin
4th Place- Taylor Adams and Chrystalle owned by Meridian Farms
5th Place- Taylor Adams and Rio’s Splash owned by Sarah Robin
6th Place- Gary Young and Cliché owned by Isobel Goldsmith
7th Place- Hasbrouck Donovan and Falcao owned by Donald Stewart
8th Place- Shawn Casady and Caruso owned by Bettina Richman
9th Place- Joy Janouskovec and Samaritan owned by Jennifer Munday
10th Place- Hasbrouck Donovan and Raquel owned by Ann Garnett
11th Place- Olivia Chowdry and Enchanted owned by Sage Flynn
12th Place- Mark Ferris and Promo owned by Ruth Douglas

The Jacksonville Winter Series continues through February 7th  with classes Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 8AM until about 5PM except for special events on Saturday evenings at 7PM. Admission to the shows is free – parking at special weekend events is a $5 donation, which goes to support local charities. 

For more information or results on the 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series please visit http://www.classiccompany.com/ or call the show office at 904-284-1579. 

Flashpoint Media Services, based in Harrodsburg, KY, is a comprehensive public relations firm specializing in the equestrian sports. For additional information contact Robbi Meisel, 859-734 3713, robbi@flashpointmediaservices.com

Photos: Wilhelm Genn & Happy Z-Samantha Schaefer & Castle ©Flashpoint Photography

Client: The Classic Company

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North Florida Hunter Jumper Association 5 Week 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series

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Classic Winner Wilhem Genn on HappyZ

The North Florida Hunter Jumper Association five week 2010 Jacksonville Winter Series will run from January 6th – February 7th, 2010.  This will be the 16th year of the annual Winter Series, which has donated over $900,000 to local charities over the years, including the Clay County 4-H and has an annual economic impact of over $16 million to the surrounding community. 

The first week of competition, the Jacksonville Kick-Off, runs from January 6-10, 2010.  It is an “AA” nationally rated horse show and will feature a $10,000 Jumper Classic.

Perhaps the most exciting of the weeks is the second week of competition.  The Jacksonville International will be held from January 13-17, 2010.  It is an “AA” nationally rated horse show that also boasts the $125,000 Green Cove Springs CSI-W.  The $25,000 Welcome Class will be held on Friday, January 15th and the $100,000 World Cup Qualifier Class will be held on Saturday, January 16th.  These two classes will draw a large and very exciting field of national and international Olympic riders and their mounts.  A children’s carnival, rides, pony rides and a petting zoo will be offered to entertain the young and young at heart during the day.  Admission is free with a $5 donation for parking.  All proceeds from the day’s events will benefit the Clay County 4-H Foundation.

The Jacksonville Mid-Winter, January 20-24, 2010 follows with its own attractions, including “AA” nationally rated hunters and jumpers.  The highlight of the weekend will be the $5,000 Welcome Class to be held on the afternoon of Friday, January 22nd in addition to the $25,000 Marco Family Foundation Grand Prix on Saturday, January 23rd that will benefit Horses for Heroes and the Wounded Warriors Programs.  Cedar River Seafood will cater a reception for Exhibitors and Sponsors prior to the event.  A string of pearls generously donated by Beard’s Jewelry and cufflinks generously donated will be auctioned off to raise money for the worthy causes.  The $10,000 Jerry Parks Hunter Classic will be held the evening of Friday, January 22nd.  This Hunter Derby type class is always spectacular to watch in the big covered ring under the lights!  

The Jacksonville Winter A to Z ~ January 27 – 31, 2010 features “AA” nationally rated hunters and jumpers, a $5,000 Welcome Classes to be held on the afternoon of Friday January 29th in addition to a $25,000 Grand Prix to be held the evening of Saturday, January 30th.  Exhibitors and sponsors will be treated to an Exhibitor Party on Saturday evening preceding the Grand Prix in addition to a Pizza Party Luncheon on Saturday during the day at the rings.

The series concludes with the fifth week, the Jacksonville National that runs from February 3 – 7, 2010.  It also features “AA” rated hunters and jumpers.  The final $5,000 Welcome Class will be held on the afternoon of Friday, February 5th and the final Grand Prix will be held on the evening of Saturday, February 6th.

All events are held at the Clay County Fairgrounds on SR 16 W in Green Cove Springs, FL.  Each week of competition draws approximately 550 to 600 horses, which is the full capacity of the show grounds.  Our exhibitor base draws heavily from North Florida and South Georgia and the entire East Coast.  It includes international riders from approximately 25 states, three provinces of Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, Ireland and Mexico.  We are very proud to be chosen one of the only 12 shows in America to host a World Cup Qualifier.

Sponsors are in front of a very qualified audience for each of the five weeks and are in very good company.  Some of our sponsors include, but are not limited to the following:  Glen Kernan Golf & Country Club, Hodges Boulevard Development Group, Inc., Ring Power, John Deere, Mac Paper Company, Greene Hazel & Associates, the Marco Family, SKANSKA USA Building, Inc., Arlington Toyota, Auld & White Constructors, Inc., The Gift Horse, Pat’s Nursery, Ronnie’s Wings, Top of the Reef, Rick Baker’s RV Sales, Clay County Tourist Development Council, The Bruning Foundation, SunBelt Springs Water, Woody’s BBQ, Bridlebourne Stables, Baptist Primary Care, James D. Hinson Electrical Company, Jerry Parks Insurance, Diamond D Trailer Sales, Corrigan Trailer Sales, Canadian National Railroad, Six Mile Marina, Club Continental & Cedar River Seafood.

Please visit http://www.nfhja.com/ or http://www.classiccompany.com/ for further information.

2010 Jacksonville Winter Series
Clay County Fairgrounds, Green Cove Springs, Florida
January 6 – February 7, 2010

See some photos by Teri Rehkopf, HorsesintheSouth.com from the 2009 series:

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VTRC Receives Quality of Life Grant from Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

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The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center used the Quality of Life Grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to purchase Cinderella.

Loxahatchee, FL – October, 27, 2009 – Each year the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation awards grants to non-profit organizations that provide services to individuals living with paralysis. This year the Foundation is proud to announce Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center’s Horses for Heroes Program as one of the 145 recipients, receiving $5,000 in aid.

Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center will use the grant to help those living with paralysis become active members in everyday life. Cinderella is an elegant seven-year-old Quarter Horse, and she was purchased for the VTRC programs though a grant provided by the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

“After receiving the grant we looked high and low for the perfect horse and finally the proverbial glass “horse” shoe fit,” noted VTRC Founder and Executive Director Ruth Menor. “Cinderella (we call her Cinder for short) stepped on to VTRC property with inquisitive yet accepting eyes, and quickly made friends with her new equine family. At 14.2 hands, she is the perfect size for both kids and many adults and is currently being used for a handful of lead line and independent lessons.” Read more> http://www.horsesinthesouth.com/article/article_detail.aspx?id=8674