Can You Make A Horse Smile? You Bet! Here's How...

by EQUUS Foundation
Jan 2, 2013

Hoof Beats and Heart Beats

Eliza and Blueberry
Eliza and Blueberry

Eliza came to Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center in Lexington, Virginia, more than 10 years ago with Down Syndrome and started the program with someone leading her horse while two walkers flanked her sides as she rode. Eliza was immediately drawn to Blueberry when he arrived in 2005. Blueberry was not in need of a new home, but instead, was donated by a Board member because he was the perfect type of horse for the program.

Once Eliza and Blueberry started working together, they both progressed at an amazing rate. Blueberry is now a specialist for riders with hyperactivity and panic disorders. Eliza is riding independently and debuted her competitive spirit at the Special Olympics Equestrian Games hosted by Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Virginia Horse Center, and Hoofbeats. Eliza now has her eye on jumping and competing in open shows that offer classes for disabled riders.

The photo of Eliza and Blueberry was taken by Katy Baron, a former rider with Hoofbeats. Eliza had just performed her musical freestyle for Katy. After halting on the centerline, you can see the pure joy in her body language.

Hoofbeats Therapeutic Riding Center ( is one of hundreds of charities across the United States that are meeting the standards of excellence of the EQUUS Foundation and have received grants thanks to your donations. Your donations are used to ensure the well-being of horses and enable the therapeutic use of horses for those with special needs.

EQUUS Foundation celebrates the extraordinary talent of horses and the magical bond between horses and people. Because of horses, first words are spoken and crutches are set aside. One by one, horses and people are benefiting from your support! Thank you.



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Organization Information

EQUUS Foundation

Location: Westport, CT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lynn Coakley
Westport, CT United States
$120,400 raised of $250,000 goal
390 donations
$129,600 to go
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