Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC), a non-profit organization providing therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-facilitated group services to children and adults with physical, social, and mental health needs, received a $15,000 COVID-19 relief grant from the Collier Comes Together Fund, a charitable fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County (CFCC). The grant will be used to fund operations for NTRC’s programs for people with special needs which have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 temporary program closure and cancelation of major fundraising events.
NTRC delivers safe and effective equine-assisted therapeutic programs, achieving results for nearly 800 individuals with special needs annually. Therapies are individually designed and monitored to help each participant consistently achieve improvement in their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. These therapies had to be temporarily suspended beginning in March for the safety and protection of staff and those NTRC serves. However, caring for the center’s 14-horse therapy herd remained a critically necessary daily service.
The horses and the staff members who care for them are vital to NTRC’s success. Riding the center’s horses helps children, youth, and adults with special needs significantly increase their joint mobility, strengthen and improve posture, balance, and coordination, as well as build self-confidence.
“NTRC is doing everything possible to retain our staff and essential resources to remain ready to fully resume our vital programming as soon as we are able to do so safely,” said Missy Lamont, executive director. “Historically, the total annual $272,000 required for herd expenses are funded through our special events. The recent May cancellation of our Kentucky Derby Party and uncertain future of our Bootstrap Boogie Barn Dance, our signature annual fundraiser held in November, has created an urgent need to find new funding sources. We are grateful for the CFCC for their continued support of our mission and those we serve during these trying times.”
The growing demand for NTRC services from special needs rider families without insurance coverage or who have exhausted available medical benefits, but still require effective therapies is expected to increase as a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. During these uncertain economic times, CFCC’s investment will ensure NTRC’s ability to maintain these scholarships upon fully resuming services.