Equestrian Chic Gala
Celebrating a Decade of Saddling Up for the Disabled, Honoring Ten "Grand Champions" of the Equestrian Community2023, Gala Guide
Helen Keller, a champion for the disabled, famously said, “Alone we can do so little: together we can do so much.”
On Tuesday, November 7th,, will celebrate ten years of volunteerism and honor ten “Grand Champions” who have done so much to provide therapeutic horseback riding programs for hundreds of disabled children and veterans throughout Florida. The elegant “equestrian-chic” dinner will take place at Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, which will be transformed for one special evening into a “Riding Club” complete with guests attired in classic equestrian chic or their finest riding habits.
Founded in 2013 by a small group of equine enthusiasts who believed in horsepower that heals, Give Back for Special Equestrians is an all-volunteer non-profit, 501C3 registered in Florida, providing therapeutic horseback riding scholarships for disabled children and veterans. The charity, with no paid staff and ten volunteer board members, has proudly raised over $500,000 in support of special needs riders since its inception. Through a combination of corporate sponsors, generous donors and major fundraising events at the Hampton Classic, Winter Equestrian Festival, Longines Global Champions Event and World Polo League Beach Polo, Miami Beach, Give Back raises critical funds for horseback riding scholarships for children and veterans facing some of life’s biggest physical, cognitive and emotional hurdles.
Among the “Grand Champions” being feted include: Nancy Batchelor, Nancy Hector, John Harris, The Cabrerizo Family, The Nateman family among others.
“We are looking forward to celebrating our milestone anniversary and the generosity of the philanthropists and board members who gave of their time and resources, so that children and veterans facing challenges such as autism, Down syndrome, spina bifida, paralysis and post-traumatic stress disorder could experience horsepower that heals,” said Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, Co-Founder and CEO of Give Back for Special Equestrians. “All proceeds raised from the evening will be earmarked towards supporting our stable partner, Whispering Manes, to be able to offer more riding lessons for the disabled,” she added.
“We are firm in our belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the healing power of horses, regardless of their abilities or financial circumstances. The benefits of equine therapy are many. To a child or adult with a physical development or emotional disability, life looks a lot brighter on horseback. The power and warmth of a horse strengthens and tones muscles, improves balance, head control and coordination, builds patience and self-esteem and offers a sense of freedom and equality. The horses three dimension gait gently and rhythmically simulates the human pelvis and lower extremities, which helps the rider with physical disabilities with the improvement of their balance, flexibility, muscle strength and ambulation,” said Dr. Heather Kuhl, Co-Founder and President of Give Back for Special Equestrians
In 2021, Give Back for Special Equestrians joined forces with Whispering Manes to exclusively serve Miami’s primary riding facility for special needs riders.
Tables of 4 are $5,000 with tables of 8 for $10,000, please contact Sissy DeMaria-Koehne at 305-608-5350 for tickets or for more information.
About Give Back for Special Equestrians
Give Back for Special Equestrians was founded in 2013 by Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, Dr. Heather Kuhl, and Isabel Ernst and is registered as a 501(c)3 all-volunteer non-profit in Florida that provides therapeutic horseback riding scholarships for disabled children and veterans.
The organization believes in horsepower that heals and raises funds for therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted scholarships for children and veterans facing some of life’s most difficult challenges such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, paralysis, and post-traumatic stress disorder so that they can experience this life changing therapy. Give Back for Special Equestrians raises funds through corporate sponsorships, generous donors and fundraising events such as the Winter Equestrian Festival, Hampton Classic, and Polo matches and has proudly raised over $500,000 in support of special needs riders.
Give Back for Special Equestrians Young Ambassadors, children, and teens ages 7-17 are the backbone of the organization providing ongoing support through hands-on volunteering, fundraising, “friend” raising, and drawing awareness to the charity’s mission.
In 2021 Give Back for Special Equestrians formed a strategic alliance with Whispering Manes Therapeutic riding Facility in Miami.
For more information on Give Back for Special Equestrians visit www, givebackeq.com.
About Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center
Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization offering therapeutic horseback riding and therapeutic horsemanship classes for people with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Through safe and supervised individually tailored programs with specialized horses, participants with a wide range of disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in equine assisted activities that promote physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being. Centrally located in Miami-Dade County they serve a community that would otherwise not have access to equine assisted activities. Participants interact with horses through un-mounted and mounted activities while being supervised by PATH certified professionals. The program aims to promote improvements in core and overall muscle strength, balance, gross and fine motor skills and communication skills. Additionally, participants frequently achieve a sense of self-accomplishment and self-esteem that is promoted by the powerful bond between humans and horses.