LWRWC Club Funds SMART Brick
On Friday, May 11, 2018, the LWRWC visited the home of Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART), located at 4640 CR 675 E. Bradenton, FL. The ladies came to see the SMART Brick that the women’s club funded to contribute to SMART and commemorate their longstanding SMART sponsorship.
Brandi Ezell, Executive Director of SMART, took the ladies on an informative tour of the remarkable 23-acre equestrian facility and brought the SMART experience to life as she explained the outstanding therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving programs.
Brandi shared the exciting news that their dream of a covered arena at SMART is coming to fruition and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. A covered arena will permit SMART to continue programs during the hot summer months and will do so much for SMART riders and their families.
The LWRWC ladies had the opportunity to witness a SMART therapeutic riding lesson and watch children demonstrate skills, self-confidence and independence achieved through their unique connection to the horses.
During the tour, Brandi showed the ladies the Equicizer funded by LWRWC that helps Smart riders acclimate to sitting on a horse to get ready to begin their riding therapy and a beautiful painting in the same room that reflects the benefits gained from SMART’s Warriors In Transition program in the words of the Veterans.
One of the most delightful parts of the tour was the opportunity to feed and interact with the amazing SMART horses. The ladies brought tasty carrots and enjoyed feeding the treats to their new equine friends.
The visit also included an up close and personal meeting with Magic, a beautiful 16-hand bay quarter horse with no eyes and his companion and “seeing eye horse” Kaycee, a 33-year-old chestnut-colored Arabian.
Magic, who learned to function flawlessly despite being blind, helps SMART Riders overcome their own daunting challenges and serves as an inspiration to all. LWRWC is very proud to sponsor Magic, as well as an adorable pony named Norman. Magic serves as an inspiration to all SMART Riders because he is living proof that it is possible to overcome daunting challenges. Autistic children, who often have trouble making eye contact, find it easy to bond with the horse without eyes. SMART horses are well trained, very loveable, and are a variety of breeds. Like Magic, most of these horses have been donated to the program and their work at SMART is their “second career”. Through the tireless dedication of certified instructors, volunteers and empathic horses, SMART helps heal body, mind and spirit
SMART welcomes visitors and volunteers. If you would like to visit SMART and/or are interested in volunteering, or donating to SMART, visit their website at www.smartriders.org or call 941-322-2000.