HOPE Week begins today with the Yankees visiting the Flying Manes program. Here are the details from the Yankees…
The New York Yankees are proud to begin HOPE Week 2012 (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) on Monday by celebrating Flying Manes. Yankees players Mark Teixeira, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez and Jayson Nix, along with pitching coach Larry Rothschild will honor Flying Manes by surprising the special-needs children and their instructors during one of their therapeutic horse-riding classes at the Riverdale Equestrian Centre in the Bronx. The Yankees will help students with grooming the horses, and also assist in leading and walking beside the horses during the riding lesson. The children, their parents and the instructors will then be the Yankees’ special guests for their 7:05 p.m. game vs. Cleveland. They will watch batting practice from the field and be part of pregame on-field ceremonies.
THE STORY OF FLYING MANES
Flying Manes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals with physical and emotional disabilities by providing therapeutic horse riding instruction. The program was started by Stefanie Dwyer (née Pleschinger), along with her husband, Bricklin.
Stefanie grew up in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She became involved with horseback riding as a child and began instructing children with Down syndrome when she was just 15. Upon moving to the United States, she became a certified therapeutic riding instructor in the U.S. as a way to help others while sharing her joy of riding. The riding helps the children build strength physically while increasing their self-esteem as they gain command in riding the horse.
“When I was a child, all the maps of the world that we were allowed to see consisted solely of the Soviet Bloc,” Stefanie said. “Though we knew there was more to the world, everything beyond those borders felt off limits and out of reach. Children with disabilities and their families often feel like the map of their life has been drawn. But I’ve seen what riding can do. Riding can take children to a world that they always thought was for someone else.”
The organization operates at the Riverdale Equestrian Centre in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Now in its fourth year, the program has worked with approximately 100 children and young adults.