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Naples Therapeutic Riding Center Expands Equine Services for Military Families; Operation Stride Launches in August

Naples, FL – Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC), a non-profit organization providing therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-facilitated group services to children and adults with special needs, announced the expansion of Operation Stride, a tailored equine-facilitated program for military service men and women and their families. The program will launch with a veteran-only session on August 8th and a family session on August 29th. Both sessions will be held from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center at 206 Ridge Drive and conclude with time for food, refreshments and camaraderie among fellow veterans and military families. The goal is to expand services to 50 veterans.

Operation Stride is a special program devoted solely to the unique needs of veterans and military families by promoting reintegration and skills development. The horsemanship workshops aim to empower veterans and encourage them to fully leverage the talents developed during their service as they transition back to civilian life and the workforce.

During the sessions, veterans work directly with horses while engaging in a group process to overcome obstacles. Operation Stride’s ground-based exercises are interactive and challenging. Veterans and their family members work with NTRC’s certified equine specialists and therapy horses to improve mood, communication and wellbeing by being guided through a series of specially designed activities. The exercises provide opportunities to strengthen the bond among unified families, improve self-confidence, develop skills and provide an opportunity to build a social network among fellow veterans.

David McKenzie NTRC Program Director and a 20-year veteran of the United States Army, said, “We are excited to expand our proven equine groups to support the unique needs of the local veteran population. Our goal with Operation Stride is to de-stigmatize veterans participating in therapeutic services and encourage more veterans to connect to an array of needed mental health options in an environment that is welcoming, social and therapeutic.”

The program is free of charge. Register by August 1, by calling 239-596-2988 or emailing


About Naples Therapeutic Riding Center

Established in 1997, Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with a mission to improve the lives of children and adults with special needs through therapeutic riding and equine-related group programs. With a dedicated staff, herd of 14 horses and the assistance of nearly 400 volunteers, NTRC provides unique equine-assisted therapies to more than 800 participants per year. Through fundraising efforts, the organization is able to provide this vital therapy to those who need the service most, regardless of income level. Services are provided in partnership with local non-profit organizations and through physician referrals for individuals living with special needs and a range of emotional, learning and developmental disabilities. NTRC is the only Center in Collier County accredited at the “premier” level by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. For more information on programs or volunteer opportunities, visit or call 239-596-2988.

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