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.
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.