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Leadership Venice Takes It InStride

InStride's therapies provide between 1,200 and 1,600 unique kinesthetic stimulations in a single half hour session, six times that of traditional therapies.

Article by Tony D'Souza, Tammie Ohl

Photography by Tammie Ohl

Originally published in Venice City Lifestyle

Every year, a select group of professionals and leaders in our community come together in the Venice Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s ‘Leadership Venice’ program, where they meet top community members and learn all about what makes Venice the wonderful place it is. Each Leadership Venice class takes on a major charitable project that they complete before graduating from the program. This year, the Leadership Venice class is improving InStride’s Therapy-Sensory Arena.

InStride, located on a 62-acre ranch in Nokomis, is an independent Equine Assisted Therapy facility. Currently with 75 clients, InStride has served thousands over the past 25 years in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Desoto/Hillsborough counties, delivering equine therapy to children and adults with disabilities, thereby improving the quality of their lives. During a typical hippotherapy session the horse provides between 1,200 and 1,600 unique kinesthetic stimulations in a single half hour session, six times that of traditional therapies. 

“The work that InStride does is so special and beneficial,” says Nancy’s Concierge Service’s Nancy Scott, a member of this year’s Leadership Venice class. (Nancy was also featured in Venice Lifestyle’s March 2021 issue, and her daughter, Bailey, is part of our photography and makeup style feature on page TK of this issue.) “Many of the children InStride serves face serious challenges. Everything improves for them when they work with the horses.” 

The Leadership Venice class is volunteering time and physical labor to transform the Sensory Arena into a functional and creative area focused on the needs of the clients. The Sensory Arena will include a sand path, a wooden board path, a stone path, a Sensory Garden with horse friendly plants, and multi-touch point activity boards. Riders will be able to engage all of their senses through touching various textures and shapes, smelling scents flowing through the air, seeing colorful painted sea creatures, hearing the sounds of nature, and feeling their body movements coinciding with the undulating motion of the horse while it traverses a variety of terrains. The hippotherapy sessions will exponentially improve the overall health of the participants. The class will also add a sign at the entrance to InStride.

“This project has been wonderful for our class and has helped us bond,” Nancy says. “It’s great to working together to give something back to the community.”

The class’s goal is to raise $5000 for the project; in-kind and cash donations are requested. For additional information contact Jeff Loffredo, Project Leader, at Nancy’s Concierge Services is also matching Venice Lifestyle reader donations by 25%. For example, if a reader donates $500.00, Nancy’s Concierge Services will match that by $125.00.

“It has been an absolute honor to be a part of this class,” Nancy says. “Our project at InStride has been the highlight of the experience.”

InStride: 1629 Ranch Road, Nokomis. 941.412.9333.

Leadership Venice:

Nancy's Concierge Services: 941.445.0319.