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Voluntourism Spotlight: Naples Equestrian Challenge

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Volunteering does not have to be the focus of a whole vacation. In fact, it can be one of many activities. In this week’s Voluntourism Spotlight, we’re highlighting a program put together by The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The Florida resort has teamed up with Naples Equestrian Challenge to give guests the chance to work with horses that are volunteers in their own right. Check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities and tune into Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio on Saturday for more information.

Horses have long been known to have  therapeutic value for people with special needs, but you might not know just how much work goes into establishing and maintaining such a volunteer program. This summer and fall, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples has put together working with Naples Equestrian Challenge (NEC)  to bring in guests to help with the program.

The Naples Equestrian Challenge is a nonprofit organization that offers therapeutic riding for both children and adults with special needs.  NEC began in 1995 and now operates a 5-acre site with 10 horses that provide an invaluable service.  Therapeutic riding helps to build muscle strength, coordination, and balance.  The gentle giants also provide confidence-boosting friendship and support to their riders.

Volunteers help clean up and resurface empty stalls, wash saddle pads, clean tack, fold laundry, paint, and do gardening and yard work.

Animal-loving guests at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples can participate in this event on October 5, 2012. Program fees run at $50 per person and include transportation to the site as well as a snack.

To learn more about this program, visit the Ritz-Carlton, Naples online and the Naples Equestrian Challenge’s website.

By Michelle Silverstein for