Annual Summer Cocktail Party at Endeavor
Story by Holly J. Coley
Summer came early this year when OHV Editor-in-Chief Laurie and I headed to Bedford for the Annual Summer Cocktail Party at Endeavors Therapeutic Horsemanship. The evening was warm, the drinks were chilled and, as it was the Preakness Stakes (which were streamed live during the event), the races were—quite literally—on.
The invitation read 6–8 p.m., so we headed out a bit after five. It was the first weekend of the month where we hadn’t been hit with rain or had an overcast sky. Not long after exiting the Taconic, we were welcomed by the arresting site of the stone walls enclosing the 55 acres of land that house Endeavor. We walked up the short hill where we were met with the stables and riding rings, and not far away a gorgeous tent complete with a live band, open bar, hors d’oeuvres and two tables’ worth of goodies ranging from Coach bags to sporting-event tickets for the silent auction. We mingled with guests whose collective attention was on the race (did any of you see Cloud Computing winning? Us either) and the live auction—both very exciting to watch.
But the true stars of the evening were the horses and Endeavor, whom we had come to support. Since 2014, Endeavor has been offering programs that enrich the lives of those in the community by utilizing the power of equine therapy. With a team of therapeutic riding professionals, the not-for-profit serves at-risk teens, veterans suffering from PTSD, the disabled and anyone who can benefit from the physical and mental-health benefits that riding-based activities provide. And really, that’s just about everyone.
Long before medical journals like Neurology were investigating the positive effects of hippotherapy and other equine-centered treatments, people have noted the therapeutic effect of horses. Herd animals by nature, they are highly sensitive and can be a powerful tool to help those who have experienced trauma. They sense fear, anger and other psychic scars we can carry without realizing it. To connect with the horses, individuals must connect to themselves and, ultimately, that’s where healing takes place.
Endeavor offers several programs tailored to meet the needs of the various individuals who come through their doors. Their Therapeutic Riding and Horse Shows teach riding skills, help further develop cognitive and social skills and have a number of health benefits like strengthening core muscles and posture. Their Active Duty/Veteran program is free, and their Sibling program provides abled-bodied brothers and sisters the opportunity to participate in training with their special-needs relative. They also host birthday parties, have a summer camp and welcome those with special needs to take part as Vocational Volunteers.
It was exciting to see so many come out to support an organization who has made it its mission to bring inclusiveness and healing to all in need. And, of course, it was fun to pet the horses.
Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship is located at 1 Succabone Road, Bedford, NY. To learn more about what they do, please visit their website at www.endeavorth.org.