To benefit children and adults with special needs or disabilities by offering them the opportunity to interact with dedicated horses in a manner that promotes physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. We believe people can develop therapeutic relationships with horses, crossing boundaries of speech and physical disabilities in a way that encourages healing and improved self-esteem.
According to the 2010 census, there are over 600,000 people in Miami-Dade County with some form of disability. In 2010, Nancy Hector, a philanthropist and champion of children’s causes, recognized the need in Miami-Dade County for a place where children and adults with disabilities could interact with horses in a therapeutic program. Mrs. Hector also recognized the poor accessibility of such centers to those who need it the most so she selected the farm Whispering Manes resides on because of its central location. Mrs. Hector purchased the 10 acres of land in Horse Country and by 2011 Mrs. Hector had hired Dr. Erin Bauer to serve as the first Executive Director of the program. Soon after, Whispering Manes Therapeutic Riding Center was formally established as a federally recognized 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to providing equine assisted activities to adults and children with disabilities. By the end of 2011 the inaugural board of directors was formed to help govern and guide Whispering Manes into a successful future, a PATH International certified therapeutic riding instructor and a full time groom to care for the horses were hired.
Whispering Manes formally opened on January 23, 2012. At present, Whispering Manes serves 38 to 43 riders per week ranging in age from 5 to over 70 years old. There are over 65 people enrolled in our equine assisted activities program, including veterans from the Veterans Administration Medical Center, and participants from multiple local special education schools, the Down Syndrome Association of Miami, Miami Cerebral Palsy Sunset Residence, and private individuals.
Whispering Manes works to promote strong community ties by drawing on more than 60 volunteers from local service organizations.