Remembering our Heroes

by Sharon Merkel Prudhomme ~
This Memorial Day Weekend as we kick off the summer of 2018 let’s not overlook the true meaning of Memorial Day. Celebrating the lives lost while giving the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Whether at a parade, picnic or event this holiday, please take a moment to bow your head in silence.
Although we’ve got a slew of veteran programs to which one can donate, I’d like to bring one such program to the forefront! I met a few representatives of “SPUR” (Special People United to Ride) at a recent MS Walk and would like to bring awareness to such a fantastic group. Monmouth County Parks System has something for everyone! Although there are several different programs for both young children and adults, I’d like to focus on the Horses for Heroes program.

A country day of fresh air, earthy aroma of hay & barns on a 34 acre farm offers the perfect mellow stage for this non-traditional therapy while getting away from Va. Hospitals, medical centers and active duty zones. Wounded veterans and active duty military partake in mounted and non-mounted activities allowing both emotional & physical healing as well as emotional awareness, emotion regulation, self-control, and impulse modulation. Using horses in therapeutic settings offers veterans immediate feed back while requiring physical strength and balance and is highly motivational. Combining all aspects makes for a super effective rehabilitation environment! The dedicated staff, fantastic volunteers and of course the calm and steady horses all come together for positive encounters.


Horses for Heroes helps participants with challenges including: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Traumatic Brain Injury Depression Anxiety Amputation Physical limitations due to combat injuries.

Benefits include: Normalized muscle tone, improved balance,increased range of motion,building confidence and self-esteem.

Partnering with the Monmouth County Park System, “SPUR” is operating as a non-profit organization located in Lincroft, NJ at the Park System’s Sunnyside Equestrian Center. The Horses for Heroes workshop is especially designed for our veterans as well as those in military active duty at no cost. The individual needs of each individual is assessed and his or her program is designed specifically to each participant’s needs. There are workshops for both individual as well as for groups (max. 10 per group), and all are run by PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors and PATH Certified Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning.

From a beginning in the early 70’s, the therapeutic riding program grew, adding the Sunnyside Rec Area, Special People United to Ride, Inc. (SPUR) to the existing Thompson Park and Huber Woods locations. In addition to the veterans program, there are over 4,000 lessons given each year as well as camp, school and other programs within the beautiful busy facility. With new programs such as the Horses for Heroes, the need for funds increases continually. To help out with the needs, perhaps you may consider contributing. Sunnyside Equestrian Center welcomes visitors to check out for yourselves the amazing programs and the hard dedicated work performed.
For further information, please call 732-224-1367-contact Lisa Haskell @ ext.1# or Jackie West @ ext.3#.

Sunnyside Equestrian Center

628 Middletown-Lincroft Rd.                                                                                                          

Lincroft, NJ 07738


Find them on Facebook today!!

“A Hero…Those of distinguished courage or ability admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities.”

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