In a sweet show of support, one local car dealership recently hosted the world’s first Ice Cream Social Distancing event. It was sundaes on Thursday, June 25, as Braman Bentley delivered a trunk full of hope and dairy delights to Good Hope Equestrian Training Facility students and volunteers.
Braman Bentley saddled up with Give Back for Special Equestrians, an all-volunteer organization that provides therapeutic horseback riding scholarships for disabled children and veterans in its ongoing challenge to raise funds to support South Florida’s therapeutic riding facilities through its Save Our Stables (SOS) initiative.
Give Back for Special Equestrians launched the Save Our Stables challenge in April to raise funds for riding facilities for the handicapped that have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19 due to schools being closed and a statewide lockdown.
Without revenue from riding lessons and high monthly operating and maintenance costs in excess of $500 per horse for basic necessities like shoes, shelter, shaving, hay, grain and veterinarian bills, therapeutic stables are struggling to care for the horses in their programs.
With no income, many barns are facing catastrophic losses and may not be able to reopen.
To date, the nonprofit has raised more than $30,000 with its SOS challenge.
“It’s no secret that there is an immense amount of pain in our nation right now, and we salute organizations like Give Back for Special Equestrians that are providing joy and hope to children and veterans with disabilities through equine therapy scholarships,” said Mike Rodriguez, general manager of Braman Miami. “We are thrilled to be able to do our part.”
Dr. Peggy Bass, executive director of Good Hope Equestrian Training Center, said, “I have been blessed to see children with adults connect with their horse and say their first word.
Thanks to scholarships from Give Back for Special Equestrians, children and adults are able to develop their strength, coordination, enhance their fine and gross motor skills, while also building their self-confidence in an inclusive environment.
“But without immediate financial support and not knowing how long this crisis might last, we will not be able to continue caring for our horses and ponies in the program — leaving our students like Star who has CP, Dylan who has Autism, and Amy who suffers with Downs Syndrome, unable to continue their therapeutic journey,” Dr. Bass added.
“This pandemic has caused major setbacks for horseback riding stables everywhere, and we are so grateful to Braman Miami and all those who donated during our time of need,” said Sissy De Maria Koehne, who co-founded Give Back for Special Equestrians in 2013 along with Dr. Heather Kuhl and Isabel Ernst.
Equine therapy has been used as a therapeutic aid for thousands of years. Dating back to ancient Greece and gaining popularity in the 1950s, therapists have found combining therapeutic riding and physical therapy presented amazing results. There are currently 850 PATH certified riding stables in the United States. In South Florida, Give Back for Special Equestrians supports Good Hope Equestrian Training Facility, Stable Place and Special Equestrians of the Treasure Coast.
A collection of car dealerships spanning Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami, Braman Miami was founded in 1975 by businessman Norman Braman with a single Cadillac dealership. Today, the dealership sells and services new and pre-owned BMWs, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Bugattis, Cadillacs, Minis, Hyundais, and Genesis, as well as an array of other certified pre-owned vehicles and pre-owned exotics, consistently ranking among the top dealers in the United States.