Written by Collen Maidh Friday, 02 August 2013 00:00
Horseability recently held a polo match to benefit their geriatric equine therapy program at SUNY Old Westbury.
The match was between Team “Athon” featuring Hal Lahaer, Julie Rinaldini, and Esteban Scott. “The Noble Knights” featuring Alex Garcia, Fabricio Morano, and Luis Rinaldini.
This was the first polo event for the therapeutic riding center.
“This specific event is to benefit the elderly patients on Long Island. It’s a community based program and it’s because of the community that we are able to be successful and have a wonderful program running,” Katie McGown, Horseability’s Founder and Executive Director, said.
Horseability began in 1993 when founder McGowan lent her horse to a friend and physical therapist that used hippotherapy as a treatment modality for a child with cerebral palsy.
Now the non-profit organization offers a wide range of Equine facilitated programs for children, adults, and families with special needs to promote the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of its participants.
The 400 acre property in Old Westbury consists of 20 stables. Horseability’s commitment is to refurbish Old Westbury’s beautiful brick barn, and to utilize it as a facility dedicated to therapeutic riding.
Bristal Assisted Living also took part of the polo benefit. The community center has a program that begins in the spring, and residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease come to Horseability for a 90-minute therapy session once a week.
“We are very excited to be a part of this first inaugural polo match to benefit Geriatric Equine Therapy Program. It’s amazing what the power of horses can do for someone’s spirit,” Janine Valentiner, Director of Business Development at Bristal Assisted Living Communities said.
Horseability board member, Christina Ladas, also shared her insight on Sunday’s event, “This is a beautiful event. I support Horseability, and the power of the horses.” She explained, “When my daughter was younger physical therapy for her was all medical, and kids don’t want that, so I put her on a horse. The horse helped her and she loved it. She is now 21, going to college, and she still is involved with horses.”
At the end of the match team “The Noble Knight” won. The winning team was presented a trophy by McGowan for Horseability’s 2013 Inaugural Polo Event. To find out more about Horseability and the programs they offer visit http://www.horseability.org or call 516-333-6151.