HomeGrown Heroes: Prospect Riding Center

by Jessica Waller

Prospect Riding Center (PRC) is a therapeutic and recreational horseback riding center focused on helping individuals with special needs overcome physical, developmental, and psychological challenges. Located on over 20 acres in Myakka City, the staff and volunteers provide a warm, nurturing, and safe environment for riders to develop core strength and balance, enhanced self-esteem, and increased communication and social skills. The fun and educational experience is aimed at promoting a lifelong interest in equine activities and a deep appreciation and love of horses. The bond created between
horse and rider helps our riders to grow physically, emotionally, and socially.

Founded by Susan Tambone in 2011, PRC is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), which is the governing body for therapeutic riding programs. The organization benefits from strong community support and the commitment, dedication, and hard work of the founder, staff, and volunteers. PRC has volunteers from all walks of life including younger children who help with barn chores and horse grooming, high schoolers who learn responsibility and compassion as helpers in the therapy program, and retirees who spend time in the
beautiful ranch setting caring for the horses and the property and mentoring the younger volunteers. Many local families often volunteer together, creating memories that last a lifetime.
“It’s a gift, who wouldn’t want to do this?” Tambone says as she gazes out on the menagerie of horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, Indian Runner ducks and a pair of barn
cats. “I just love it here. It’s a blessing.”

The therapeutic riding program at Prospect Riding Center is unique, encouraging the participation of family and friends as part of each rider’s development plan. The inclusion of the rider’s support system into therapy lessons creates memories that continue to nurture beyond the lesson time and make a real and positive impact on the client’s life. PATH certified instructors are trained and equipped to teach individuals with a variety of special needs including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down’s syndrome, stroke recovery, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD and cerebral palsy in equine-assisted riding. We
offer trail riding with obstacles and therapeutic games designed to address the specific needs of our riders.

PRC partners with various organizations including Manasota Bring Up Down Syndrome (BUDS), Face Autism, Foundation for Dreams, and Dream Oaks Camp to support individuals with unique needs in the community. PRC works hard to secure funds to cover therapy riding lessons for those who do not have the financial means to pay for the lessons themselves. Many therapy riders pay little to no out-of-pocket cost for this life-changing program. PRC has a herd of wonderful therapy horses who are gentle, well cared for and loved by their caregivers and riders. Each of the horses has their own personality and riders are paired with the horse who is the best fit for them, not just physically, but psychologically and emotionally as well. An incredible bond is created between our
riders and their horses which allows the riders to have the confidence to challenge themselves in an environment that feels safe and with an animal that offers unconditional love.
To learn more visit: Prospect Riding Center