- March 5, 2014
Alexis Mariano, an 11 year old participating in Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy's summer camp June 24, gently mounted herself onto Cherokee, a brown horse.
Samantha Toomey, an equine manager at SMART, then guided Mariano around the arena. Riding Cherokee was the third time Mariano had ridden a horse in her life. She participated in the camp to have fun activities to do with her friends.
The weeklong summer camp was a first for SMART. The nonprofit normally has programs and riding lessons during the summer, but due to COVID-19, SMART had to cancel them and close April 1.
Rebecca Blitz, executive director of the nonprofit, said the nonprofit wanted to provide some type of programming for kids to be able to get out of their homes and enjoy activities.
Participants spend the morning learning about horses and how to care for them as well as riding. After lunch, they do arts and crafts such as making a bird house.
The camp is limited to five participants who are required to wear masks. Spots are still open in camps starting July 6. Anyone interested in participating can sign up at SMARTRiders.org. The camp is $275 for children under 14 years old and will go through July 31.