By Sarah Maslin Nir
I’ve been riding my entire life, since age two — quite a feat when you’re a native New Yorker, seeking out horses endlessly in a city that seems to have long ago replaced them with yellow cabs. I’ve been so singularly addicted to them that I’ve written a whole book about these creatures, “Horse Crazy, the story of a woman and a world in love with an animal,” which will be published this summer. I’ve asked myself why they’re so powerfully compelling, and why I’ve been so drawn to them. Is it their big eyes? Their quiet breath? Their sheer beauty running across an open field? All of those seem right, but not answer enough as to what is their incredible, ineluctable pull. I’ve never had what felt like a true answer, even as I found them here as a mounted auxiliary park ranger in Central Park and as a riding instructor at a barn in the middle of the East River in Harlem.
Then I found them in a little barn on 70th Road in Forest Hills Queens. That is where I was assigned by the New York Times where I am a reporter, to do a story on GallopNYC three years ago. There I met a five-year-old boy named Luis Rodriguez astride a little blonde pony. Luis is autistic and nonverbal, unable to express himself. But there on the back of the pony, he was telling everyone how he felt, beaming, smiling and loudly applauding his own accomplishment, expressing himself more clearly than those words that had so far evaded him.
It was there that I understood the pull of horses — it is their ability to lend us their power and make it their own. I had always felt it, but GallopNYC and the incredible work it does for children and adults like Luis at last let me understand it. Luis’s beaming face projected the power he felt, the competence, the capability that he rarely masters in his little life. Astride a horse, he towers physically over his caregivers, and mentally is on top of the world.
Here in New York City of all places, Luis and I had both found the horses, but in reality, via GallopNYC, the horses helped us find ourselves.
Your Gift Matters
Every day, our riders accomplish new skills, some they never imagined, in therapeutic lessons with horses at GallopNYC. Our horses help children, adults, and veterans with special needs, but NONE of these daily victories could happen without YOU.
The riders in GallopNYC’s therapeutic programs pay only what they can afford – and we’re proud to never turn anyone away for financial reasons – but those fees don’t cover all of our costs. A large part of that is care for our 40 horses. These kind and willing animals have found a home with us and we are committed to giving them the best care possible. It’s worth every penny but costs a lot of pennies.
We already serve 400+ riders per week at four locations, and as more families hear about the benefits of our program, the waiting list grows. We need your help to do more!
You have the power to replace frustration with accomplishments, limitations with success, and hesitation with confidence. Please, give your most generous gift today!
GallopNYC is pleased to provide a variety of therapeutic and educational programs utilizing our incredible herd of equine educators. Facilitated by a dedicated team of 13 instructors, GallopNYC serves over 400 riders a week at four separate locations. Sharing some of our highlights!
The GallopNYC Veteran’s program is growing. With services provided free of charge, we are thrilled to announce some exciting new partnerships: CUNY PROVE, Higher Ground, NYC Vets, and Team RWB.
GallopNYC’s Leadership and Job Skills program utilizes therapeutic horsemanship, horse care, and barn management to instill lessons on leadership, responsibility, teamwork, and communication in students and young adults. Successfully launched this Fall, GallopNYC works with students from two public high and is partnered with Self Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) to facilitate advocacy education throughout the program. The staff has also been receiving leadership training allowing GallopNYC to fully integrate the work of this program throughout our organization.
Our Equestrian Team has a new coach, PATH certified riding instructor, Katie Murrell. Katie and her team recently competed in The Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD) Horse Show at The Thomas School of Horsemanship. With thanks to team sponsor Centennial Bank, our riders took two firsts in the spotter division and ribboned in the independent division.
Finally, our December 14th Ride with Pride Horse Show was a smashing success. With 65 riders demonstrating their newly acquired skills, families and friends had an exceptional day.
Thank you for the Gift of Time
GallopNYC could not operate without dedicated volunteers – they are our backbone and primary source of support. Thank you for the 6,184 hours of service this term. Thank you to the corporate groups who gave of their time including:
- Wells Fargo
- Faherty Brand
- Kiehl’s Since 1851
… and thank you to the 725 dedicated individuals who volunteered in lessons, worked in the barn, served as paddock masters, and acted as grooms. Without your hands to help riders sit tall, the communication between horse and handler, the constant care of our animals and their home, and the partnerships in our community, would be nearly impossible.
“Despite the amount of time we ask of them week after week to make lessons happen, they answer the call,” GallopNYC’s Volunteer Manager, Cheriselle Scott. For information on how you can get involved visit us online at GallopNYC.Org.
Irrespective of size, horses provide a non-judgmental relationship, accepting individuals for who they are regardless of physical, emotional or social abilities.
GallopNYC’s horses are the true heroes of our program. Our horses are chosen to perform with the highest degree of patience, love, and ability and each has a very specific job to do.
Introducing, Priscilla, a delightful loving mini who comes to us from B.J. Ehrhardt of Foxhedge Farm LLC. Priscilla is ideally suited to her role as an equine ambassador. Standing 32 inches at the shoulder, her friendly outgoing nature makes her accessible to even the timidest person. Welcome, little one.
News From The Board of Directors
GallopNYC is pleased to announce Sol Reischer as Chairman of the Board. Sol previously served as Vice Chairman.
Sol joined the board in 2014 and was instrumental in GallopNYC’s expansion. A retired Option Specialist on the American Stock Exchange, Sol also served as Chairman of the Specialist Association from 1995 – 2002. When asked about his new position Sol states,
“GallopNYC uses Therapeutic Horsemanship to help riders with disabilities walk, talk and learn, inspiring them to live their lives fully, independently and as productively as possible. I know this firsthand, as my daughter Lauren participated in GallopNYC’s program at an early age and she now is riding competitively with the Brown University Equestrian Team. The experience changed our lives. I am thrilled to have been elected to the position of Chairman of the Board for GallopNYC. I look forward to serving our New York City Community.”
Preceded by outgoing Board Chairwoman Suzy Marquard, Sol assumed his responsibilities in October of this year.
- In addition, Alicia Kershaw was elected Vice-Chair of the Board, filling the seat made vacant by Sol’s election.
- Anna Goldman was elected to the Board. She is a Director, Global Cobrand Business Development, at AMEX. Anna was on the Vanderbilt equestrian team and will bring marketing and fundraising experience to our Board.
- Nicole Epps, a former Board member, was named to the Council of Advisors. Nicole is Managing Director, Programs and Policy, World Childhood Foundation.
- Sarah Maslin Nir was named to the Council of Advisors. Sarah is an equestrian and a staff reporter for the NY Times.
- Natalia Kory has resigned from the Board due to the press of work after two years of service. GallopNYC greatly appreciates Natalia’s service.
Every day we welcome new friends to Gallop’s social media community. To receive all of our news follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #GallopNYC #BelieveInAbility.
Save the Date
Start of Winter Term: January 7, 2020
Start of Spring Term: March 31, 2020
Annual Barn Dance: May 14, 2020
Prospect Park Horse Show: June 27, 2020
Sunrise Stables Horse Show: June 28, 2019
Did you know GallopNYC can receive donations from Amazon Smile when you shop? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice! AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know – same products, same prices, same service. Support GallopNYC (Giving Alternative Learners Uplifting Opportunities, Inc) by shopping at smile.amazon.com.