Stories

Celebrating Birthdays AND Horses! :)

Did you know that at the heart of Community Bollywood Dance Project’s origin story lies a connection between birthdays and horses?

For my daughter M’s 2nd birthday we were looking to celebrate with some community based initiative. At the time I had been volunteering for In The Company of Horses a therapeutic riding program at the Dream Park. One thing led to another and our first ever CBDP Bollywood dance routine in Dec 2009 incorporated 43 people and 5 horses! (Click ‘here to read the full story)

While I may have discovered my passion for horses in my 20’s, it is a JOY to see my baby girl M fall head over heals for all things horsey!❤️ Recently, for her 10th birthday party she chose to raise money for horse related causes in lieu of birthday presents. With our help, M narrowed down ‘local’ organizations serving horses and humans in meaningful ways.

We had so much fun celebrating M’s birthday with her friends and even managed to surprise all the kids with a horse carriage ride! 🙂

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Horseshoes for good luck!
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A BIG ‘Thank You!’ to our generous birthday fund contributors! 🤠 Sianna-Nishana, Addison, Jackson-Jamison-Jayden, Liliana-Kyle, Milani-Krishani, Amanda, Scottie, Vivian-Femy, Danielle, Penelope, Insia, Abigail, Josh, Alison, Nate

My heart fills with gratitude for all our friends who donated so generously that we surpassed our goal of $300 and raised a total of $500! Thank you so much!

With your help we are able to support two organizations. Here is a recap of our visit to one of the two! 🙂

Equine Assisted Therapy of NJ is a non-profit located in Mannington-NJ, and provides therapeutic services with the partnership of horses. Services include therapeutic riding for special needs, equine assisted psychotherapy for addiction and trauma, therapy for families and veterans, etc. They work very hard to bring quality programs to the community and appreciate any and all support – monetary or volunteer hours!

Beyond offering our donation and reading about the organization online, I wanted M to experience the depth of the program and gain first hand knowledge, and hence I coordinated a visit with Shannon Pinkerton. I had first met her while volunteering with In The Company of Horses. Here is a fun memory of Shannon participating in our first Community Bollywood Dance Project in Dec 2009!

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Dramatic opening shot of our Bollywood dance routine to “Mauja hi Mauja” – Shannon rides across the arena! 🙂

Shannon welcomed us warmly and graciously spent an hour with us, giving us a tour of the facility, an overview of all of the programs, and answering all the questions that M had prepared for her interview with Ms. Shannon 🙂

 

We saw 4 therapeutic riding lessons in progress, met some wonderful volunteers and the barn cat dropped in to say hello! 🙂

Of course M’s absolute favorite part was meeting every single horse, hearing Ms. Shannon tell their stories, and feeding them horse treats she had brought after seeking permission! 🙂

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Visiting the horses in the field

M inquired if any special tack was used for therapeutic riding lessons. When Mishi seemed clueless about a hackamore, Shannon took her down to the tack room to show her one! They also looked at different types saddles and reigns, explaining how/why they are used in their programs. For e.g. a texturized and color blocked set of reigns helps one of their teenage riders hold the reigns in her elbow joints, because her arms are not fully formed – limitations that may not even cross our minds! Stories such as these highlight how therapeutic riding enriches the mind, body, and spirit of differently abled riders!

With a deeper understanding of their services and the impact of their work, we happily donated half of our funds to support the ongoing efforts of Equine Assisted Therapy of NJ.

We came back with beautiful memories that will stay for years to come! The horses even graced us with this group photo-op! 🙂

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Not to miss our horse buddy ‘Scootch’ photo bombing in the back 🙂

Jeanne (Executive Director) and Shannon – here’s wishing you continued success. Thank you for all the hard work you do to make a positive impact to our community!

Shannon, thank you for making this 10 year old’s birthday celebration so special! ❤️

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Her happy place!

Stay tuned for the 2nd post in this series when we visit the second organization next month…

 

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