Whispering Manes’ Special Equestrians Ride for the Roses on Derby Day in Miami’s Horse Country


MIAMI FL (May 17, 2023) Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering therapeutic horseback riding and therapeutic horsemanship classes for people with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities, founded by philanthropist Nancy Hector in 2012, held its 11th annual Ride for the Roses student horse show on May 6, the first Saturday in May and traditional day of the Kentucky Derby.

The horse show, held in Whispering Manes’ covered arena in Miami’s historic “Horse Country” at 6105 SW 125th Avenue, showcased the budding achievements of the special needs riders. It served as a testament to the power of equine therapy in transforming the lives of individuals facing some of life’s most significant physical and emotional challenges, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, paralysis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Ride for the Roses event saw a colorful spectrum of ladies donning Derby hats and sundresses, while men sported bow ties and seersucker suits for the occasion. More than 100 spectators enjoyed mock-Mint Juleps, Southern light bites, and a raffle, all of which contributed to the festive and uplifting atmosphere.

The show featured 21 riders of all ages and abilities, as well as a small herd of five trustworthy ponies and horses from the program. The children’s faces radiated with joy and determination, which was heartwarming for all to see as they proudly showed off their newfound horsemanship skills. The equines were also proud to parade their mounts in front of the crowd, demonstrating a series of walks, trots, and even some canters.

“The Ride for the Roses student horse show was a triumphant celebration of the power of equine therapy in transforming lives, and it was an opportunity for our community to come together in support of our mission. We are so very grateful to everyone who attended the event and showed their support for Whispering Manes and the families we serve,” said Helen Picard, Executive Director of Whispering Manes.

After the ribbons were handed out by the Judges, Whispering Manes extended its gratitude to its sponsors for their generous support of the event, including their presenting sponsor, Hialeah Park, and raffle sponsor, GD Herrera & Associates. They also gave a special thank you to community partners, Trans Caribbean Cargo, Publix, Limo Graphics, Horse Club Miami, The Rodriguez Family, and The Nunez Family for their contributions to the event.

About Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center:

Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization offering therapeutic horseback riding and therapeutic horsemanship classes for people with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Through safe and supervised individually tailored programs with specialized horses, participants with a wide range of disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in equine assisted activities that promote physical, cognitive, or emotional well-being. Centrally located in Miami-Dade County they serve a community that would otherwise not have access to equine assisted activities. Participants interact with horses through un-mounted and mounted activities while being supervised by PATH certified professionals. The program aims to promote improvements in core and overall muscle strength, balance, gross and fine motor skills and communication skills. Additionally, participants frequently achieve a sense of self-accomplishment and self-esteem that is promoted by the powerful bond between humans and horses.

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