(Southwest Florida) The Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, Inc. (SMART) is thrilled to announce the arrival of our new draft horse, Gallagher, and the purchase of a new Portia Marathon Carriage – both made possible by a generous grant from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to the Barancik Foundation for making it possible for SMART to extend its carriage driving program opening the world of horses to those who may be unable to participate in our therapeutic riding program. Gallagher has the perfect temperament for a therapy horse and is an experienced driving horse. We are excited to see him assume his important role at SMART,” said Melissa Spillenkothen, Board Member and Interim Executive Director.
SMART’s therapeutic carriage driving program challenges our drivers physically, cognitively and emotionally. We see results where drivers improve their balance and muscular strength, develop trusting relationships with other drivers and their team of volunteers, and enhance their ability to communicate clearly. We’ve heard from parents that:
· “SMART provides a safe, effective, happy place…a time to be proud of herself”
· “I can’t say enough positive things about how much progress he has made physically and emotionally”
· “She is fast becoming more comfortable speaking for herself”
· “There is a magic at SMART. All the children fortunate enough to attend will always benefit in many ways.”
Gallagher’s addition to the therapeutic carriage driving will help ensure that no one is left out from the positive effects of equine therapy.
The program depends on a strong and patient horse pulling a carriage specifically adapted to serve in all conditions. Sterling, our 23 year old Percheron, is reaching the age of retirement from the carriage program. He will still be involved in other SMART programs but we needed to plan for his successor. And, we have found him.
Gallagher, an 8 year old draft cross, will step into this position. He is patient and easy to love, key ingredients to forming the human/horse bond that is the foundation of our equine programs. Paired with the new marathon carriage, Gallagher will allow us to introduce more drivers to the visible benefits of therapeutic carriage driving.
About the Barancik Foundation:
The Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private family foundation located in Sarasota. The Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants locally and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. Visit BarancikFoundation.org to learn more.
Established in 1987, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) is a non-profit organization that provides horseback riding, carriage driving and equine-assisted activities for individuals with disabilities. Located in eastern Manatee County, SMART is a mostly volunteer organization that serves over 650 individuals with disabilities each year, including people with a variety of challenges such as autism, attention deficit disorder, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome, as well as individuals with terminal illness, emotional or mental health conditions, and hearing, speech or vision impairments. Among the activities offered are therapeutic horseback riding and driving, a literacy program, and programs for veterans, at-risk youth and teens, and victims of human trafficking. Volunteers age 14 and over are welcome to join the organization at any time after completing an orientation and training program.
SARASOTA MANATEE ASSOCIATION for RIDING THERAPY, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 Organization.
All Contributions are Tax Deductible. CH4398 65-0043354
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED
FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352)
WITHIN THE STATE OR BY VISITING www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com
REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.