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Sissy Demaria



Equine Enthusiasts Discover True Meaning of Horsepower

VERO BEACH, FL (June 27, 2013) — Merriam Webster’s dictionary describes horsepower as the power that a horse exerts in pulling. For a group of equine enthusiasts in Vero Beach, Fla., horsepower is not just a unit of measurement, rather the special way horses and ponies are able to lift spirits, clear minds, exercise bodies and provide a sense of well being.

Inspired by the mission of Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast, which provides therapeutic riding programs for children and adults with physical, developmental or emotional disabilities - and grateful for the joy that horses have brought to their lives - four women and a 6th- grade student, banded together to form a “grass roots” fundraising initiative called Give a Buck to benefit the local nonprofit.

The Give a Buck program, which kicks off July 1st, asks horse owners across Indian River County to “give a buck” with every month’s board payment, to support the very special mission of the therapeutic riding program and help ensure that no one is denied access to this life-changing therapy due to an inability to pay.

Give a Buck volunteers will provide boarders at stables across Vero Beach with a self-addressed stamped envelope made out to Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast, along with a brochure that explains the mission. Fellow horse owners are asked to give as little as a dollar or as much as they would like on a monthly basis when making their regular monthly board payments.

“We founded Give a Buck as a simple way for the equine community to give back for all of the joy that horses have brought to our lives,” says professional horse trainer and Give a Buck co-founder Heather McCall. “We have been blessed in our lives in so many ways and want to pay our good fortune forward.”

Riders in the Special Equestrians program who are challenged by Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Strokes, Diabetes, and other conditions affecting muscles and speech benefit from therapeutic riding programs by strengthening and toning muscles; improving balance, head control and coordination; and building patience and self-es­teem. Many of them are unable to control their arms and legs and are among scores of people in Indian River County burdened by mental, developmental, physical and emo­tional disabilities.

To a child or adult with a physical, developmental or emotional disability, life is not just sunnier 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 offering a sense of freedom and equality. Horseback riding gently and rhythmically simulates the human gait, so riders with physical disabilities improve their flexibility and muscle strength.

The horses and ponies in the Special Equestrians of Vero Beach program, most of which are in their 20’s, seem to understand and enjoy their roles, patiently waiting for disabled riders to be saddled up before taking them on a slow ride.

To know the sound of a horse’s whinny, the feel of a satin coat, the gaze of soulful eyes is to love and appreciate the gentle nature and curative power of these animals. We wanted to share our love for hoses and ponies with those in our community who can most benefit from their healing touch,” adds co-founder Sissy DeMaria, “Give a Buck is an effortless way for us to give and encourage others to do so.”


“Our goal is to take this program to other communities across Florida and partner with other therapeutic riding programs where the need exists.” says, Maria Fioravante, Give a Buck Board member.

For more informa­tion about Give a Buck please call 305.608.5350 or visit You can also like them on Facebook.

Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast (772) 562-7603. The Special Equestrians’ facility is located at 7280 53rd Street in Vero Beach, FL.