I recently had the pleasure of attending and photographing Endeavor's Third Annual Horse show in New York recently. Endeavor Therapeutic Horsmanship is an organization that a friend and fellow photographer has been involved with for several years. Offering therapeutic riding lessons for individuals with special needs, veterans and at-risk youth, equine therapy helps improve physical, cognitive and emotional issues. This type of therapy is a trend that is gaining popularity all over the United States. And after attending this show, I can see why.
I've only ever ridden a horse once in my life - on my honeymoon in the Caribbean. While it was quite an experience, I was also ill prepared for it, wearing flip flops and shorts. Needless to say, I was quite sore the next day. Watching kids as young as 3 or 4 ride these exquisite beasts was nothing short of awe-inspiring. While some of these kids have physical issues and need support and guidance as they trot around the ring, the smiles and thumbs up made it quite apparent they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The event is a culmination of showing friends, family and spectators how much they've learned and grown in the last year. Proud parents were there to cheer their kids on ringside. Competing in different levels and in different events, each competitor won at least one ribbon. Watching moms and dads take cell phone photos while siblings admired their prize, was really touching and emotional to watch. For some families, their struggles are hard and challenging. Seeing breakthroughs with a nontraditional form of therapy is clearly watching dreams come true for so many to them. Here a few special moments I captured that beautiful fall day.