Mary K. Thomas, the studio owner of Dance, Dance, Dance Studios of Wildwood Florida, and host of Florida Fun Mini Match, has a special place in her heart for MTRA and their mission. “My niece with special needs was a student of Hillcrest School many years ago. She was given the opportunity to participate in therapeutic horseback riding with MTRA and the benefits and improvements in her life as a result were drastic.”. There is no lack of great works being done by MTRA, but there are limitations to what they can do without funding, which is why Florida Fun Mini Match is so important!
Read below to learn more about the amazing work being done by MTRA.
About Marion Therapeutic Riding Association
Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA) was founded in 1983 at Peg Wallace’s farm in Ocala, Florida. The program soon became a member of the North America Riding for the Handicapped Association (now known as PATH: Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) and, in 2002, became a PATH International Premier Accredited Center. During its formative years, MTRA was operated by several dedicated, unpaid individuals using horseback riding to help physically, emotionally, and cognitively challenged children and adults build self-esteem and independence. MTRA’s success with its clients grew each year and in 1985, MTRA became a 501(c)3 not-for-profit.
Today, MTRA resides on 30 acres situated on the Florida Greenway and Trails in a beautiful facility constructed in 2008 with the proceeds of a Community Development Block Grant. This facility is home to our resident Executive Director, Pam Morrison, houses our main administrative offices and our classroom. It hosts many fundraising and awareness events, such as the Ann Romney visit in June of 2012, the 2013 MTRA Charity Auction, our 35th Anniversary event, many clinics, and PATH workshops and certifications.
With its ideal Ocala location in the heart of Florida’s horse country, MTRA is able to draw from a community teaming with individuals well versed in equine-related activities. That, coupled with a hard working staff, devoted volunteers, and the support of a generous community, has enabled MTRA to become one of PATH International’s Premier Accredited Centers.
MTRA is also a PATH International mentoring facility, where individuals can learn to become a therapeutic riding instructor under the guidance of our highly professional and credentialed staff and prepare for the final certification testing by PATH International’s duly appointed faculty in a wide range of equine-assisted courses and workshops. MTRA is an approved host site for PATH International therapeutic riding instructor workshops and certifications, as well as workshops and skills testing for Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning.
Today, MTRA continues the foundation of excellence begun in 1983 and is firmly dedicated to improving the quality of life of its clients by fostering programs that enhance their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. MTRA is home to more than 120 clients annually from five counties and over 100 active volunteers participating in the program.
Proceeds from the Florida Fun Mini Match are donated to MTRA and we could not do that without your continued support. Thank you for your dedication to this event and Ballroom Dance in North Central Florida!