Everyone has heard of American Pharoah and Justify; however, does anyone know about Sugar, Tito, or Duncan? When most people think of horses, they associate them with Western movies, racing, carriage rides, and even a pleasant vacation beach ride. Those who work with horses on a regular basis know that they are intuitive and sensitive creatures who are able to form strong, beneficial bonds with both their handlers and riders. I have personally incorporated my love for horses and my equestrian background by volunteering at an equine therapeutic riding program called Great Strides Long Island. This nonprofit organization, run by Julie Dell’Aira, relies heavily upon volunteers, donations, and fundraising to offer its valuable assistance to those who need it. Great Strides serves people of all ages- from children who have special needs to veterans suffering from PTSD and other issues. Additionally, the horses at Great Strides live up to the organization’s motto: “Horses for body, mind, and soul.” It is truly awe inspiring to witness the effects a horse can have on a person with a disability. I have personally observed the impact that therapeutic riding has on young children and adults alike. The benefits of therapeutic riding seem to be endless. A select few examples of the merits of therapeutic riding include increases in motivation, coordination, listening, conversation skills, muscle tone, confidence, and self-esteem along with decreases in anxiety, stress, and tension. Therapeutic riding is instrumental for the mental and physical well-being of those who suffer from autism, cerebral palsy, anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, and many other afflictions. Volunteering alongside Julie and the trainers at Great Strides has given me the desire to increase awareness of this type of program, along with its benefits and its importance to those with special needs. Anyone who would like to donate either funding or time to Great Strides or other programs similar to it should seriously consider doing so—volunteering in a therapeutic riding program is not only beneficial for riders, but it is uplifting for helpers, equestrians and non equestrians alike, as well. Great Strides is located at 41 Coram Swezeytown Road, Middle Island, New York. You can also sign up to volunteer through their website, http://www.greatstridesli.org/. I myself hope to raise awareness about these valuable programs and contribute financially to Great Strides by writing a children’s book focused around the story of a disabled child and a very special pony. I plan to donate proceeds from this project (entitled “Milk-Shake”) to this wonderful program. I hope to see therapeutic riding programs flourish in the future, and I truly believe that horses make a huge impact on everyone they are with.