Our Riders

Because of generous donors like you, GallopNYC provides the benefits of therapeutic horsemanship to hundreds of riders each week. Your support means a child can develop greater fine motor control, gain verbal skills, become more empathic and engaged, and develop core strength – benefits that carry over to their lives in vital ways so that they can live as fully and productively as possible.

Meet our riders Kylie, Jariel, Noah, Leah, and Jukai! These are just some of our talented riders in our therapeutic programs. Read their stories below.

Meet Kylie, a bright young professional whose love for horses began as a young girl. When first introduced to horses by her mother, an avid rider, Kylie immediately fell in love with them and the sport. Being well aware of the physical and cognitive benefits of riding, her mother decided to enroll her in therapeutic riding. 

Kylie has now been riding with GallopNYC for years. She has Cerebral Palsy, a chronic condition that affects body movement and muscle coordination. For Kylie, her left arm and leg are affected, giving her limited mobility on that side of her body. Over the years, Kylie has used therapeutic riding to help her fine motor control, balance, coordination, and strength. But an unfortunate event occurred over a year ago – Kylie suffered an accident at work. This accident resulted in a injury to her brain. Her speech was affected, it delayed her reflexes and processing time, and it triggered episodes of anxiety.

Therapeutic riding helped in her road to recovery. GallopNYC instructors used the horses and lesson plans to enhance her motor planning skills, improve her speech and help her regain strength in her muscles. Partnering with her horse helped her tackle new physical challenges, boost her self confidence, and reduce anxiety. Being presented with the opportunity to join the GallopNYC Equestrian Team further inspired Kylie’s recovery.

 “I am especially grateful for being part of the show team while recovering from a brain injury. Seeing tangible progress has helped both my self-confidence and sense of accomplishment. Thank you GallopNYC for this wonderful experience.” – Kylie Long

“As a parent of a child with special needs it can be difficult to find a place or activity that he can really enjoy that will help him grow. We found that place at GallopNYC for Jariel.” – Sheila Moqute, Jariel’s mother.

Jariel is a bright 8-year-old boy with a high IQ and brilliant grades in school.  But Jariel struggles in the areas of socialization, motor control, sensory processing and speech. He came to GallopNYC at the age of 5 to begin therapeutic riding. His weekly riding lessons have made a significant difference his life.

“GallopNYC is helping our child grow in so many ways – emotionally, physically, and socially. Jariel has more strength in his body and better coordination, he is more confident with himself and what is capable of doing, but most importantly he has the opportunity to interact with new friends and of course the horses.”

Jariel now competes in the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities on the GallopNYC Equestrian Team where he gets excited to demonstrate the skills he has learned. His love for horses has helped him gain confidence and the courage to try new things. He enjoys socializing with his side walkers, teammates, and even likes to talk to the judge at the shows. He keeps everyone laughing, smiling, and in good spirits. Jariel has made a real connection to the horses.  He loves to trot, take photos with his horse and he welcomes new challenges.

Meet Noah, a nine-year old charmer with an inquisitive mind and a strong connection with horses. Noah’s love for horses is obvious—but it wasn’t always this way. In fact, when Noah first came to GallopNYC less than a year ago, PATH Int’l certified instructor Leslie Lewis had to act quickly when Noah saw his first horse and made a bolt for the exit.  That first lesson, he wanted nothing to do with the horses, nor with the staff and instructors.  But Leslie’s encouragement and the horse’s gentleness coaxed him into the saddle. Today he’s unstoppable!

Noah’s riding skills have progressed quickly and he has developed an understanding of some of the more complex equestrian concepts as well as a strong awareness of the physical cues he is giving his horse.  Through riding, his motor planning skills and balance have rapidly improved, and he shows great aptitude for any equestrian challenge presented to him. Noah asks questions that reveal his perceptiveness, curiosity and tenacity. And he truly empathizes with the horses, especially his favorite mare in Forest Hills, Popcorn.

Equally important, Noah’s success in the riding arena is carrying over to his success in the classroom.  Noah, who has learning challenges, is more focused in school, more willing to ask questions, and participate in discussions.  Only a year ago he tended to be reserved and shy in school, but his mother and teachers have witnessed tremendous growth in his socialization skills and confidence; allowing him to realize his full potential in many important aspects  of his life.

When presented with the opportunity to challenge himself even further by participating in the GallopNYC Equestrian Team, Noah leapt at the chance.  One of the youngest members of our team and competing in a division with older, more experienced riders,  Noah maintained  poise, self-awareness, skill, and a big smile throughout the summer show season. He demonstrated sportsmanship far beyond his years. 

“I’m bursting with pride when I watch Noah ride and see how far he has progressed in such a short time,” says Leslie Lewis. “I see great things ahead for Noah, the possibilities are endless!”

Meet GallopNYC rider, Leah Kest “GallopNYC has not only helped me become my own person, but it has also given me a purpose and a reason to ‘Walk On’.”

Shortly after she was born, Leah was diagnosed with polio and by age 2, she was regularly involved with traditional physical therapy to help to develop greater mobility, strength and motor control.  Fortunately, when Leah was 6, her mother found GallopNYC, and since then, Leah has never looked back.  Originally shy, withdrawn, and anxious, Leah had difficulty walking and relied on both leg braces and crutches.  But over a short amount of time in therapeutic riding, Leah’s love of horses motivated her to open up to her GalloNYC PATH certified instructors, and work with them as a team to get the most out of her sessions.  Not only was she gaining muscular strength and control, she was developing confidence and trust.

Now 20, she now moves independently and walks without leg braces.  She was her high school’s prom queen!  “GallopNYC has inspired me to study what I love and help others as they have helped me.”
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Our Staff

GallopNYC’s talented and passionate employees are motivated by the sense of purpose that comes with our mission and programs.  Many of our staff first started their career at GallopNYC as a volunteer.

Board of Directors

GallopNYC is led by a Board of Directors dedicated to our mission. Our talented Board of Directors are professionals with accomplishments in business, government, professional services, and philanthropy.

Advisory Council

Our Council of Advisors are eminent supporters of our therapeutic programing, consisting of avid equestrians, medical professionals, educators, parents, and a wide variety of advisors.

Founders & Emeritus Board

GallopNYC was founded as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2005. During the 2007-08 academic year, GallopNYC began lessons with one instructor, ten participants, and about fifteen regular volunteers.

Rising Professionals

Our Rising Professional Group help to make GallopNYC events a fun and memorable occasion.  They are dedicated to organizing, planning, and fundraising for events and activities that support our riders.

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Volunteer in Lessons

Volunteers play a very important role in our therapeutic riding lessons. In fact, we can’t have lessons without you. Volunteers support our riders during therapeutic riding sessions by sidewalking with riders and leading our horses.

Barn Work

Taking care of horses sure is a lot of work! We need volunteers to help us with all kinds of tasks from horse care, barn management, feeding, and even cleaning stalls. 

Site Leader

As a Site Leader, you will assist instructors to ensure that on-site activities operate smoothly, especially with regards to volunteers, riders, staff, and any other on-site personnel. 

Paddock Master

Make a difference and help our lessons run better. Paddock Masters volunteers are designated to assist instructors during therapeutic riding sessions by ensuring horses are tacked and ready for use, and all necessary equipment is available to allow lessons to proceed in a timely fashion.

Clerical Volunteer

Like to stay indoors? We need volunteers to help GallopNYC staff with office work and to ensure that on-site activities operate smoothly, especially with regards to volunteers, riders, and any other on-site personnel.


Volunteer Community

Become a member of GallopNYC’s volunteer community – The Turnout! The Turnout is a social club for volunteers to connect with one another through hands on experience, learning and good times. Deepen your therapeutic riding and horse knowledge, and stay abreast of all the volunteer events!

Therapeutic Riding

GallopNYC brings the proven benefits of therapeutic horsemanship to provide measurable benefits for people with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges.  Through weekly riding sessions with PATH-certified instructors, we help riders learn new skills, inspiring each one to live life as fully, productively and independently as possible.

Veterans

GallopNYC provides horsemanship leadership programs to veterans free of charge. Therapeutic horsemanship is effective with veterans for both physical and emotional rehabilitation. GallopNYC’s therapeutic horsemanship program for veterans focuses on interactions with horses and builds upon improving personal decision-making and self-regulation.

Seniors

GallopNYC offers a free program for local seniors, 65 and older. Participants have the opportunity to socialize, mingle, learn new skills, work with our horses, and volunteer with our riders.  This program focuses on groundwork and techniques in leadwalking and sidewalking, to better assist our riders during therapeutic riding lessons.

Hippotherapy

In Hippotherapy, a licensed physical therapist works with each child while the child is riding. The therapist is trained in using a horse as a physical therapy tool. The therapists work independently with GallopNYC’s assistance.

Leadership

GallopNYC has developed an innovative program to help young people transition to work, by developing specific job skills needed for gainful employment.


Equestrian Team

The GallopNYC Equestrian Team sponsored by Centennial Bank is a group of our advanced riders who participate in competitions for riders with disabilities at United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) rated hunter jumper shows.