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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

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son Andrew has been riding at NEC for a year now and it has done tremendous things for his development, muscle strength, communication and interactions with others. My son has a global developmental delay with low muscle tone. He also had moderate to severe communication issues but so much has changed for him this year and I am certain that NEC is a big reason for that! Every week he looks forward to riding and is beginning to communicate with the amazing and caring staff and the wonderful volunteers. His core muscle strength and posture has improved to the point that he will no longer require physical therapy next year. NEC is the most helpful facility we have ever used. The staff and volunteers are compassionate and love what they do and it shows. We are so grateful for this wonderful program and hope to ride there and help the facility for years to come. -Kristi Remy

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has been riding at Naples Equestrian for 4 years. When we first started my daughter Lynzee was very apprensive about riding she was rigid with body movements, very restless and uncomfortable. After only a few minutes of riding we would have to tell the volunteers to stop and that Lynzee needed to be done. My husband wanted to stop saying this is "too uncomfortable for her" I said the volunteers and staff really no what they are doing lets be patient. It took about 6 months with the most patient kind loving volunteers and staff and we are proud to say Lynzee rides the full time and sits in a saddle nice and straight and might I say very proud of herself.Its the kindness and presentence that made Lynzee who she is today a very happy rider!! Thanks

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

NEC is a very good way to help my child. We realy thanks to every people whos working there because we feel like family every time when we go to see my happy son riding the horses. God bless you.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The NEC has an amazing program and staff. My children have done therapy riding there for several years. The program has helped to strengthen them both physcially and mentally. The staff is so loving and caring while at the same time firm in their goals for each rider. One of the best things is that my kids loved riding and loved the horses. This was therapy that didn't seem like work! I can not say enough about the NEC!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a woman with MS and never thought I would ride a horse again. The last time was 30 years ago. I was nervous and excited about starting. It has been a wonderful experience right from the beginning. I ride with several other women that also have MS. The horses are so gentle. The volunteers are amazing. I would not be able to accomplish this without them. They help us get on and off the horses and keep us safe. They are dedicated to taking care of the riders and the horses. You can always tell when a person loves what they are doing and you see it in the faces of both the riders and the volunteers. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, who has Down Syndrome, has been riding at NEC for 3 years. During those 3 years, my daughter has been a dedicated volunteer sidewalker and leader at NEC. In addition, my husband and I have volunteered for some of the organization's special fundraising events. Our entire family is better for our involvement with this amazing organization. My son has gained confidence and poise from his riding, and his speech has improved immensely. He's so proud of his riding ability and his knowledge of how to take care of the horses! Although my daughter has always been compassionate and accepting of others, her volunteer work at NEC has taken those qualities to a whole new level. She truly loves working with the riders - her volunteer time is the highlight of her week.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Riley is a special needs seven year old child who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, is developmentally delayed, non-verbal, hearing and vision impaired and has a seizure disorder. Riley is pretty involved... he cannot communicate, see or express many emotions... However he does take in his environment. It is one that we believe he looks forward to and definitely responds to. when you are as involved physically and mentally like Riley, having him respond to anything is major. Around his third birthday, we made our first visit to Naples Equestrian Challenge (NEC). A stiff breeze brought the heavy scent of the barn and horses to Riley as I pulled him out of the car. He began one of the most joyful laughs I had ever heard from him and from that moment he knew this was the place for him. He was right. This is Riley’s fifth year of riding with NEC. There have been many benefits. For Riley there is the being included. The fact that he is riding a horse, interacting with his peers, being outside, the sensation of motions and from a therapeutic standpoint, gaining strength... For his family, there is the wonderful friends we have made and seeing him laugh at the enjoyment of riding his horses. He has continually gained in strength, agility and confidence under their careful guidance. He has gained so much from the first tentative rounds of the ring to the child who sits up and screams with delight at a trot. Riley is social, so for him I think just interacting with his peers is important. But as a family we have made many wonderful friends from those who understand what we have been through and where we are going. NEC is a place of acceptance where we do not have to prove that he can improve or have the correct insurance just to keep this therapy in his life. The instructors, staff, volunteers, horses, fellow riders and their families are now part of our lives. With their help and influence, Riley has continued to gain in strength, ability and emotional well-being. As long as Riley can sit astride a horse - we will be there.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I HAVE MS AND 6 YEARS AGO I WAS PRIVILEDGED TO GET TO RIDE AT NEC. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WALK AND NOT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE IN THE WHEELCHAIR. MY LEGS ARE STRONGER THAN THEY HAVE EVER BEEN. THE RIDING HAS GIVEN ME BACK MY LEGS. I AM LUCKY TO BE BLESSED WITH FRIENDSHIP FROM THE DIRECTORS TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS. NEC IS LIKE ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY. EVERYONE REALLY LOVES BEING THERE AND THEY SHOW IT. I AM SO LUCKY TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AS AN AMBASSADOR TO SPEAK ABOUT THE GOOD WORK THEY DO, I'M ALWAYS TELLING STRANGERS I SEE WITH A CHILD WITH A DISABILITY ALL ABOUT NEC. I THANK NEC FOR GIVING ME BACK ME!