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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Equestrian, Health, Human Services, Patient & Family Support, Rehabilitative Care, Sports

Mission: Our mission to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by providing effective equine-facilitated therapy.Therapeutic riding has long been recognized as a method to improve the physical, emotional and mental development of the rider.  Increased joint mobility, muscle tone and coordination are among the many physical benefits.  The positive emotional and mental aspects of equine-facilitated therapy are improved self-esteem, confidence and socialization skills.  Started in July 1995 as a satellite of the Fort Myers Special Equestrians, the Naples Equestrian Challenge became an independent 501(c)3 in January 1998.Our goal is to strengthen and expand our services, while maintaining an effective and safe therapeutic riding program for the people in our community with disabilities.

Geographic areas served: Collier County

Programs: To provide therapeutic horseback riding for children and adults with special needs. This organization provides services to an estimated 250 individuals with these indivduals receiving various amounts of therapeutic riding. This ranges from 30-60 minutes of estimated weekly riding for each person.

Community Stories

36 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What NEC does is absolutely amazing. The improvement from each rider is extraordinary and it has changed ME as a person. Wow. I just cannot believe that NEC does what they do. Every rider walks up with smiles on their faces ready to ride, and it's great.

1

Donor

Rating: 4

I have been a donor to NEC for the past five years and have continually been impressed by the caliber of service this organization provides to children with disabilities. The program has wonderful volunteers (my best friend being one of them)who assist the children with the horses and who take exceptional care of the horses as well. Children who participate in the program reap the benfits that only interaction with magnificent animals can provide. I am proud to be a donor and will be for years to come.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

Naples Equestrian Challenge has an extraordinary staff. They are very accommodating and sincere in their efforts to better my child as well as others. The amount of patience and calmness they exude in tense situations adds a sense of comfort to the experience. My child enjoys his time there immensely. I extend my greatest thanks to the entire staff and all of those who help to support the cause. Ashley Yager

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful volunteer program that really allows you to make a difference visibly. The riders are each unique and different and loads of fun to work with and teach. I feel like I learn more about them each time I come. The horses also have their own distinct and lovely personalities, they are beautiful to watch and fun to be around. I have really enjoyed all the time I spent there and hope to continue coming for a while to come.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel blessed and privileged to be part of the NEC volunteer community. Seeing the happiness and excitement in the child's face as he approaches the ramp, knowing that soon he will be on his favorite horse, fills my heart. Watching them grow and progress gives me great satisfaction. Knowing that the parent can allow him/herself to sit and relax thru the duration of the lesson, because i am there to assist his/her child, makes my task even the more gratifying.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely love volunteering at NEC. There are so many opportunities to help not just with the children and families, but with the horses, around the barn, even donations. Every little bit helps. :)

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Naples Equestrian Challenge is so amazing. NEC works with Special Needs Children and Adults working with horses on occupational type skills. the child or adult is supported by 2 sidewalker (volunteers) one volunteer on each side of the horse and a leader to assist the child with the horse. It takes alot of dedication for the the child and manpower of voluteers. Seeing a Special Needs child face light up when they see the horse and seeing the parent face light up when these kids are in a lesson keeps the volunteers coming back for more. The child or adult progresses so .. working on balance skills in the saddle, verbal and directional skills, reinning the horse where to go. Besides being so important to the child and adult we work with building their skills and confidence in themselves, it is heart warming in these times to meet so many volunteers dedicated to this program to helping these kids and adults. Everyday I am there it fills me with happiness seeing these how happy it makes these kids and the volunteers and horses who work with them.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My daughters volunteered for the Naples Equestrian Challenge at their summer camp. I came to watch one of the horse shows, and being an equestrian was quite moved by the program and what they achieved with special needs children. I immediately knew that I wanted to be part of the program and began volunteering. Many have written regarding the program and the therapy it provides. Another perk to this program that is very important is the draw to teenagers to volunteer. It is magnet for young girls, and the volunteer experience at the NEC is very powerful. For each rider, 3 volunteers are needed. We have a volunteer base of around 250. It offers volunteers of all ages a hands on opportunity to truly make a difference in someone's life. This type of meaningful volunteerism shapes futures for our younger volunteers, they come for the horses and stay for the riders.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Four years ago I carried my three year grandson to the NEC stables. He was observed and accepted as a rider. Zach couldn't walk because his hip socket was not developing with the ball in the socket. His Mother, our daughter, was told that he would need an operation--she chose riding a horse as an alternative. After four years of weekly riding at NEC, Zach is walking with a brace and is able to run. Nec has taught him balance, patience, communication skills and independence. He is able to walk without an operation. Riding has helped him with his speech, listening and concentration skills. Zach not only has special needs he is autistic. This program has helped him overcome many obstacles, without NEC we don't know where Zach would be---it has truly been a miracle that NEC has helped performed

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

People cannot immagine how much a child gains from the thereauputic actions of a horse both physically and mentally. I have volunteered at NEC for 4 years now and it's extremely rewarding. In particular when you see the progress the children make in their riding capabilities and most importantly the improvements you see in their characters....much more confidence, more outgoing, constant growth is more often than not. Wayne Learn