Peggy Bass is Executive Director of the Good Hope Equestrian Training Center, a position she has held since co-founding the center in 1999. An equestrian professional, Peggy combines her passion to assist special needs individuals and her lifelong love of horses to provide a unique learning environment. She specializes in the use of recreational, rehabilitative, educational and community-based training programs including equine-assisted programs that have been proven to cause positive modifications to the behavior and health of program participants. Peggy seeks to enhance the quality of life of children, youth and adults, including military veterans, who have varying mental and physical disabilities and increase their independence. Good Hope is the only facility in Miami-Dade County, and one of only 11 facilities in Florida, accredited as a Premier Center, based on quality industry standards, by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International.
Peggy’s interest in horses began in childhood when she developed her skills and competed as an active member of her local Pony Club. In her teen years, she participated within Hunter & Equitation Divisions at local and rated shows throughout Northern Virginia. While in college, she trained and competed successfully on the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team under the direction of Heidi Ericksen, a member of the US 1988 Olympic team.
Prior to co-founding Good Hope, Peggy spent several years as a special needs educator in the public school system and is credited with developing the program curriculum and many of the equine-related technological applications taught at the center today. As part of her extensive community involvement, Peggy has served on the Miami Dade County Equestrian Advisory board and is a frequent speaker at local and national conferences & venues.
Peggy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation/Business Management from Radford University in Virginia; a Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education from Barry University, Florida and a Doctoral Degree in Special Education Administration. Peggy is certified as a Clinical Educator for Miami-Dade County Public Schools and as a Professional Educator by the State of Florida for Educational Leadership at all levels and for ESE, Grades K through 12.
A sidekick for special-needs riders
A lifelong equestrian, I fell head over heels for horses when I was five years old after my mother took me for lessons. By age 10, I had already read Black Beauty and ended up begging my parents for a classmate’s Shetland pony named Princess. When I grew older and Princess “grew shorter” with my feet nearly touching the ground, I persuaded my parents to buy a horse. Whistles Louis, an Appaloosa trotted into my life and a succession of chestnut and bay thoroughbreds, warm-bloods and quarter horses later became my constant companions and self-prescribed therapists. The rigors of growing a public relations and marketing firm, while raising three daughters left me little time to volunteer. I felt the stress of my career was starting to rob me of my soul. While I had been active on a few non-profit boards, nothing set my heart a flutter like the feel of a muzzle, the click-clack sound of hooves on pavement, a welcoming whinny, or the thought of being able to share this love affair with those less fortunate.
In the spring of 2013, I conceived the idea of Give a Buck, while riding Jazz, my Kentucky bred thoroughbred, a relative of the great Secretariat. The organization’s name is a catchy play on words that was inspired by the simplicity and ingenuity of one of my client’s social-corporate responsibility campaign, which asked real estate agents, buyers and sellers to consider making a donation to a women’s homeless shelter with each transaction.
Give a Buck encourages horse owners and riders to make a small donation – as little as a buck or as much as a hundred dollars – with their monthly boarding payment to therapeutic riding programs for children and adults with physical or mental disabilities, or for those who are economically disadvantaged. In May, along with four other women and a sixth grade student, we launched Give a Buck in Vero Beach to support the Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast. Since then it has begun to spread across Florida.
I have been blessed in so many ways and have had the great privilege to own many wonderful horses throughout my life. They ask nothing, yet speak in so ways through their loving eyes and kindred spirits. Give a Buck is a wonderful way to share these amazing creatures with others.
Sissy DeMaria is the president of Kreps DeMaria Public Relations and Marketing and the founder of WorldWise PR Affiliates, a global network of PR firms.
Heather is a Licensed Psychologist and the founder and director of a private practice, Kuhl Psychological Services, Inc., in Fort Lauderdale, specializing in conducting gifted testing and psychological and psychoeducational evaluations for children and adults with developmental or academic concerns, as well as emotional, behavioral, or social challenges. Aside from her private practice, Heather is the Psychologist at Satori Waters, a residential facility which helps adults recover from substance abuse and mental illness.
Heather has been an avid equestrian for 30 years. She started riding at the age of seven, and does not recall a time when horses were not in her life. During her childhood, she competed locally and nationally in the hunters and jumpers with her own horses, and rode and trained ponies and horses for several of her trainers. As an adult, Heather has continued her passion for horses through riding, competing, and training. Feeling passionate about horses and psychology, Heather became interested in equine assisted therapy. She pursued certification as a mental health provider though the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). She joined the team at Stable Place, a non-profit organization that provides equine assisted therapy to individuals, families, couples, and groups. While at Stable Place, Heather has also been involved in community outreach, clinical trainings, equine assisted learning activities, and as a board member. Heather is excited to continue incorporating horses in her work with people to offer them unique experiences to learn about themselves and change their lives.
I started riding when I was 5 years old on a little Shetland pony named Merrylegs. My parents knew I was hooked when I refused to let them help carry my saddle even though it weighed more than I. Each time I’d tumble off Merrylegs, my trainer would tell me I owned that little piece of land on which I fell; if only she was telling the truth, I’d own enough land to care for a whole lot of horses! I continued to ride and my dad eventually bought me a really really really fat large welsh pony named Max and he would jump and do anything. He and I spent many a summer day, jumping anything that could be jumped, swimming in lakes and riding in fields in Chester County, PA. I continued to ride and compete in Hunter/Jumpers through the end of high school at which point, life got in the way. I wasn’t able to keep up with my riding through college and always thought I’d get back to it when I had a job, but that never happened. Then my oldest daughter was bitten by the horse bug and that was all that was needed to reel me back in. Now my life is once again full of all the “wonderfulness” that horses have to offer.
When I was about 9 years old, I rode at a barn that also served as a therapeutic riding facility and even as a young child, I was in awe at the connection the horses had with these very special human beings. If I was riding at the same time a therapy session was going on, I remember not being able to concentrate on my riding because I was so enthralled with what they were doing. My daughter became involved with Give A Buck first and when I realized that I could be of assistance too, it was pretty much a “no brainer” that I should.
I’m currently the Assistant Treasurer for George E. Warren Corp., a petroleum products wholesaler, and have been in the accounting field for almost 20 years.
BSAccounting and Masters of Accountancy from the University of Denver
In addition to spending time with my two daughters and husband, I am passionate about fitness; I have run a few marathons including the New York City Marathon. I also participate in all sorts of boot camps and group training classes. I have done many mud runs, including two Tough Mudders. I also enjoy skiing in Montana and absolutely love to travel, the more adventuresome, the better!
Internationally recognized trainer and competitive Grand Prix rider, Jimmy Torano, has joined the Board of Directors of Give a Buck for Special Equestrians, a Miami-based non-profit supporting children and veterans facing difficult physical and emotional life challenges.
Also the operator of JET Show Stables in Fort Lauderdale, Torano has been on the Grand Prix tour for more than fifteen years, having ridden in his first Grand Prix during the Winter Equestrian Festival in l989. Following his marriage to his wife Danielle, he spent several years building up his show barn, and is now regarded as one of the nation’s top importers of young and up and coming show jumpers equitation and hunter prospects.
A competitor in many World Cup Finals, Torano has collected numerous Grand Prix Wins across the country and won the highest hunter stakes class in the world in 2013— the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS Saugerties. This accomplished equestrian and regular analyst on show jumping telecasts, is also, a Big “R” judge, having judged many major classes.
A resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Miller enjoys a notable career as the Chief Operating Officer of KAR Properties, a real estate development company led by New York developer Shahab Karmely, with over $200 million invested in South Florida. Miller’s background in business and finance makes her a powerful addition to the rapidly growing organization’s influential board of directors.
Born and raised in England, Munisha is a lifelong equestrian, an art historian, a philanthropist and an accomplished fundraiser with more than eighteen years of experience in non-profit arts organizations. She is a board member of Locust Projects and has served on the Art Basel Junior Host Committee since its inception in 2001. She was formerly a mentor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) organization for many years and a board member of LEAVE A LEGACY – an initiative of the Partnership of Philanthropic Planning of Miami-Dade County as part of a national outreach program to promote philanthropic giving. She supports many art and horse causes in her community and beyond including the Special Olympics through her help with the Haitian Equestrian Center and Chateaublond Orphanage.
Munisha’s career and philanthropy has been structured by her unwavering belief in the power of the arts and her passion for horses to inspire and change lives. A resident of Key Biscayne, she is the proud mother of two children. Her daughter Carlota Goyeneche is an avid equestrian who competes in Wellington and in the IEA program; she is also a Young Ambassador for Give Back for Special Equestrians.
Founder, CEO at Shiraz-Experiential creative agency, with office in New York, Miami, LA, London and Mexico City.
Shai started his career in events, designing elegant events, environments, and providing all the services an event would require to have a flawless execution. Known for his forward thinking, detailed oriented professionalism, Shai was named innovator by industry publications and most recently was featured amongst top 40 event designers in north America.
As an equestrian, Shai has always had a special connection with horses. At the age of 14, he learned how to ride and break young Arabian horses under saddle, and from then started learning the art of jumping. After a 20 year break from riding, Shai started riding again and immediately went into the Wellington Jumpers’ ring.
His passion about the welfare of animals and his love and appreciation for horses, makes Shai very passionate about Give Back to Special Equestrians and its purpose of sharing the healing powers of the horses with people who might otherwise not have the ability to benefit from it. His goal is to help the organization grow and provide tools to increase its fundraising goals year by year, so more riders can enjoy the therapeutic riding programs the organization sponsors for them.
Jay Parker is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario located in London Ontario Canada, where he received his B.A. He had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Tel Aviv where he completed the overseas student program for one year. He continued his studies at the University of Miami, School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in May of 1998.
In 2013, Parker accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer of Douglas Elliman’s Florida Brokerage, where he capitalized on his extensive brokerage relationships and realtor contacts to grow Douglas Elliman’s presence in Miami, Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Aventura, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, Wellington, and Jupiter.
Parker is a member of the Florida Bar Association, serves the Pillar Trustee Board for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Parker is President of the Foundation and and sits on the Executive Board of Mt. Sinai Medical Center. He is active in local politics, philanthropy and the community at large.
Martha Jolicoeur first established herself among the equestrian community as a world-class show jumping competitor. Since then she has combined her passion for horses with her career as one of the area’s top-ranked real estate agents catering exclusively to equestrian clientele. She was selected as a member of the elite Douglas Elliman Real Estate Sports and Entertainment division, a designation reserved for the rare broker who meets the highest standards of integrity and reputation.
Jolicoeur serves her clients by consulting and guiding them to make the right real estate choices, at times sacrificing her own immediate gain. She prides herself on her work within the global equestrian community, offering her top-notch services to employees and staff of some of her well-known clients.
Jolicoeur began riding in Westport, Connecticut, at Nimrod Farm with Ronnie Mutch. Throughout her junior years she trained with Chef d’Équipe George Morris, and rode to many titles on her small junior hunter, Movie Star, including winning the Best Child Rider award at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and numerous circuit championships at the Winter Equestrian Festival. She later trained at the grand prix level with Canadian show jumping superstar and ten-time Olympian, Ian Millar and United States Olympian, Norman Dello Joio. In 1985, Jolicoeur was named American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Rookie of the Year.
Her international competitive background — traveling to shows in England, Holland and Belgium with George Morris — helped lay the foundation for many relationships that proved to be the building blocks of her impressive equestrian real estate clientele.
Licensed since 1991, Jolicoeur experiences the same joy she felt competing in the grand prix show jumping ring as she does when matching customers with a home that truly fits their lifestyle and finding the perfect buyer for a client’s property. She often comments on how fortunate she feels to have found her calling.
Joilcoeur began to work in real estate in both Middleburg and Wellington and permanently relocated to Wellington with her family in 2005. She personally witnessed the development of Wellington and its transformation into the “Winter Equestrian Capital of the World.” Jolicoeur is uniquely knowledgeable of the business of real estate and gives it her all, making her an asset to her clients and the Wellington community.
Hard working and honest, Jolicoeur’s well-deserved reputation has earned her a loyal clientele that includes the most notable names in international and national equestrian sport. She continues to be an active member in the equestrian community and is always looking for ways to give back. For years, she has proudly sponsored the Winter Equestrian Festival and the show’s Leading Lady Rider award in memory of Dale Lawler, a fellow realtor and horsewoman.