The annual Horseshoe Hoedown was a big success, raising $95,000 for Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida.
The event, staged at the Vegso Family Arena in Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, drew more than 300 people and featured a country music band, food, a silent auction, a drawing for a VIP trip to the Kentucky Derby, and a parade of children clients mounted on horseback demonstrating their riding skills.
The event will fund the group’s scholarship program to help families afford the program, said Mandy DeBord, executive director. The nonprofit provides therapeutic riding and equine activities to children and adults with special needs so that they may improve physically, mentally and emotionally.
“It was a great event, and each year it has grown in head count and fundraising,” said Keith Marchesani, an event organizer who emceed the event.
Marchesani, of Tamarac, said he has seen great benefits for his stepson, David, who has born with a chromosomal genetic disorder.
“It’s helped build up his core strength and balance, and it makes him feel like part of a team,” he said. “There’s been a huge growth in his physical attributes; his muscles are more toned, and he feels great.”
Joyce Moberg, of Deerfield Beach, said the group has immensely helped her daughters, Faith and Hope, who were both born with cerebral palsy. Faith receives hippotherapy with a physical therapist at the center while Hope gets equine therapy.
“They’re helping my daughters get so much hope,” Moberg said. “They never rode a horse until September, and their confidence has increased along with their strength, ability, balance and coordination. They love it. They go to therapy four days a week and they particularly enjoy this.”
Moberg said she appreciated the support of donors.
“This organization is great and needs finances to help children,” she said. “We applied for and received a scholarship, and if it weren’t for their generosity, we couldn’t afford this.”
The group owns 11 horses and oversees about 5 acres at Tradewinds Park leased from Broward County, a covered arena and an 11-stall barn.
The group recently broke ground on the Therapeutic Learning Center, which is expected to be completed early next year.
For more information, to volunteer or donate, call 954-974-2007 or visit Equineatsf.org.
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