The horseback riding at Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) provides amazing help for disabled individuals, but they also have been working to help our returning heroes.
The Horses for Heroes program at SMART is set up to allow veterans and the families of veterans learn about horseback riding, working with partner organization and Patch contributor Manasota Operation Troop Support. SMART works to enhance the physical, emotional, and cognitive growth of individuals with special needs by providing a quality educational and recreational therapeutic horseback riding, carriage driving and equine assisted activities program.
What the potential riders do at SMART is more than a pony ride though. The Horses for Heroes program teaches them everything about getting the horse prepared to ride and the correct ways to ride.
With everything that goes into riding, focus is required and it gives people the opportunity to forget about the other stressors in their lives, said Gail Clifton, the Horses for Heroes instructor at SMART.
The Horses for Heroes program is currently competing to win $25,000 from Home Depot's Aprons in Action contest for their work with veterans. Fans and residents have until the end of the month to vote for the association.
The Horses for Heroes program is open to all veterans from all branches of the service and is designed to assist injured veterans and their families, veterans and their families in transition, and veterans and their families seeking personal enrichment, exercise and growth. SMART's Horses for Heroes program is provided at no cost to veterans and their families.
The much needed money will help SMART develop more programs and to do repairs and improvements at the ranch.