NAPLES, Fla. — The Naples Therapeutic Riding Center has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the League Club, Inc. The grant will fund the annual costs for weekly riding lessons for 23 riders with special needs, as well as an eight-week equine group program for twelve at-risk children and teens with mental health challenges.
Beth Anne Algie credits the therapy she's received at the NTRC with getting her back in the saddle - in more ways than one. Just over a year ago, Algie - who has multiple sclerosis - could hardly leave the house due to vertigo.
"I didn't go anywhere," Algie said. "I didn't go out because I was so afraid of falling."
Then Algie got out of the house, and onto a horse. She said that with two months after beginning riding therapy, she began to lead a more active life.
"I go out shopping with my friends, I go dancing," she said. "I can do all these fun things that I had completely stopped doing for so long."
Algie is grateful for the $15,000 grant from the League Club.
"It just means so much to all of us," she said.
Missy Lamont, executive director of the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center, said that the horses provide people with special challenges more than just the physical skills of learning to ride.
"The emotional connection you're able to build with a horse is stronger than with most animals," Lamont said. "They're intuitive. They want to be able to work with humans. That's why it's so powerful, and that's why this therapy works."