Martin de St. Pierre
Executive Director Letter As a Naples resident for over forty years, I recall driving past the red barn off Goodlette Road countless times. Over the last 25 years, I watched as the Naples Equestrian Challenge grew from a few loaned horses and some volunteers into what we are today.
Now known as Naples Therapeutic Riding Center, today we have grown exponentially and have nearly 10 acres with 11 buildings that support 8 unique programs, 14 therapy horses, 17 staff members and an army of nearly 400 volunteers – all dedicated to providing the highest level of therapeutic riding to children and adults with physical, social and mental health concerns. With the acquisition of the property at 170 Ridge Drive, NTRC has the opportunity to continue to grow with our goal of becoming a nationally recognized therapeutic riding center with no waiting list.
In August, I had the privilege of joining NTRC as your new Executive Director, and everything I thought I knew about this place was quickly validated. NTRC is a place of dedication, compassion, love and yes, a little magic. I believe my 30 years of local wealth management, business development, non-profit leadership and fundraising combined with your generous support, will help NTRC achieve our goals to expand to meet the demand for equine healing.
Along with our new Program Director, Lilian Mendez, I am anxious to continue to meet all of our wonderful rider families, volunteers and donors who are rejoining us for a new season of giving and riding. We have already made some significant programmatic changes that eliminated the current waiting list and accommodated more than 60 new riders – some who had been waiting for well over a year.
There are many people (and horses) to thank for their support over the last 25 years – especially those who helped secure our horses and property during Hurricane Ian. I am so impressed by the steadfast support of so many whose donations have spanned NTRC’s rich history of equine healing – some who you will hear about in this newsletter.
As we turn our focus to the future, I am looking forward to making our Barn Dance Appeal a huge success and being part of a team that will make the next 25 years even more amazing!