Since 1999 the folks at Good Hope Equestrian Training Center (GHETC) have been serving the special needs community by providing children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn how to care for and ride horses on their 20-acre equine environment at 22155 SW 147 Ave.
The First Annual Swing “Fore” Hope Charity Golf Tournament fundraiser benefiting the Good Hope Equestrian Training Center will take place on Saturday, Apr. 14, at Keys Gate Resort and Country Club with registration beginning at 11 a.m. for a noon shotgun start.
Nationally accredited through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), the GHETC offers therapeutic horseback riding for individuals and groups, disabled veterans returning from war programs, adult day training, companion service, and more.
More than 800 children and adults have tangibly benefited from the program since its inception, according to executive director Peggy Bass.
“There are so many situations like the child with autism saying their first word,” said Bass who holds a PhD in Exceptional Student Education. “We had one young girl who needed side walkers on either side of her while on the horse because of a debilitating palsy. She can now ride without the side walkers. Working with the horses takes developmentally disabled clients to a new level of self-confidence.”
Referrals from agencies and doctors allow Good Hope to match services with clients who can best benefit from a horse friend to assist them in convalescence. The 12 horses on the property have been donated and all undergo a two-month trial period to make sure they are completely sound before working with clients.
“Horses are non-judgmental creatures. They are kind and compassionate and forgiving,” Bass said. “The horse’s movement mirrors the pelvis and thereby helps with ambulation. They are majestic creatures that give back so much.”
Golf Tournament sponsorship levels vary with a minimum entrance fee of $125 to include green fees, cart, commemorative shirt, awards, gift bag, and a banquet following the tournament with entertainment and open bar. Additional dinner tickets may be purchased for $40. Hole in One winner will receive a new vehicle donated by Bill Ussery’s Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay.
Good Hope Equestrian Training Center relies on fundraising efforts, grants, and private fees in order to provide services. Horses Helping Heroes is a relatively new program aimed at assisting veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients from the Bruce W. Carter Veterans Affairs Medical Center are bussed in to Good Hope as part of their in- and outpatient rehabilitative efforts.
“We work in collaboration with the Bruce Carter VA to help returning veterans coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other wars, as part of their in- and outpatient programs,” Bass said.
“Depression and anxiety are two major counterparts of post-traumatic stress disorder. Because our clients are experiencing an activity they enjoy, endorphins are produced which reduces depression and thereby helps them get back to normalcy,” added Bass, who is an equestrian herself and started the first equestrian venue for Special Olympics in Miami-Dade County.
To find out more about Good Hope Equestrian Training Center and the Swing “Fore” Hope Charity Golf Tournament on Apr. 14 at Keys Gate Golf and Country Club, 2300 SE Palm Dr. in Homestead, call 305-258-2838 or contact event chair Betty Quinn at 305-281-3014. Online registration available at www.goodhopeequestriancenter. com.