Spotlight on: EQUI-VETS and EQUI-KIDS
by Jessica A. Hayes, Esq.
I recently had the pleasure of touring the beautiful facility that houses the EQUI-VETS and EQUI-KIDS therapeutic horseback riding programs. Located near the intersection of Upton Drive and Sandbridge Road in Virginia Beach, EQUI-VETS and EQUI-KIDS provide opportunities for local veterans and children with disabilities to reap the physical and emotional benefits of interacting with horses on a weekly basis.
The facility itself is designed to make horseback riding accessible for everyone, and includes various ramps and lifts to aid individuals in mounting the horses. Its clean stable, open fields, and beautiful trails provide a comfortable setting for those with little to no prior experience with horses to learn how to ride. Therapeutic riding sessions are administered by Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Int’l.) certified instructors, and they assist participants in increasing balance and coordination, strengthening weak muscles, building trust, and boosting self-confidence.
The EQUI-VETS Service Program is open to active, retired, and reserve military personnel who have been wounded in the line of duty. It offers six weeks of therapeutic horseback riding lessons to qualifying participants, with beginning dates available year-round, to assist veterans with physical and emotional healing. Riding lessons are supervised by a registered nurse who is board certified in psychiatric/mental health and a PATH, Intl. certified instructor. EQUI-VETS is available at no cost to participants as a way to recognize them for their invaluable service. It relies on the assistance of volunteers to support its operations on a weekly basis.
EQUI-KIDS offers weekly horseback riding lessons to children with mental, physical, emotional, social, or learning disabilities. One of the largest therapeutic riding programs in the country, it provides services to over two hundred children each year, with conditions that include Down syndrome, autism, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, attention deficit disorder, and more. EQUI-KIDS charges participants only a small percentage of the actual cost for each lesson, and relies heavily on donations and the assistance of volunteers to help defray the costs.
If you or someone you know is a disabled veteran or has a child with a disability, consider looking into these invaluable programs. For more information, including how to volunteer through these programs, visit www.equikids.org/equivets or www.equikids.org, or contact (757) 721-7350.
Ask Kit Kat – Rose the Rat, Actress
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, have you ever heard of a rat being in a Broadway show?
Kit Kat: Not until recently, but there really is a white, albino rat playing in a Broadway show right now. Her name is Rose, and she alternates with another rat named Tulip in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Rose had the good fortune to be adopted by Lydia DesRoche, an animal trainer who works with the show. Rose was one of 3 white rats Ms. DesRoche rescued from a West Side Highway median near W. 57th St. She named her 3 rats the Golden Girls—Rose, Blanche, and Dorothy.
For some reason, this particular median was home to a colony of white rats. At first, there were only a few, but then the number grew and grew to approximately 500. So in July 2015, the city decided something had to be done to limit the size of the colony, and started putting out poison. Animal activists were up in arms, and started a rescue effort. One woman took in 50. Ms. DesRoche took in 3. At first, she thought she would just foster them and stabilize them. However, they were so traumatized that it took a while for them to even come out of their cages. In the meantime, at the play, the current rat actor—Toby—developed some health issues in December 2015. Her understudy, Tulip, was not really working out well. She was extremely shy. So, Ms. DesRoche decided to give Rose a try. She began by just bringing her to the theater and getting her used to the surroundings. To make a long story short—Rose loved it, and began alternating performances with Tulip. Tulip did better, too, with less performances to be responsible for. Ms. DesRoche says you can tell when a rat is happy because they brux and boggle. Bruxing is when a rat grinds its teeth together. Boggling is when a rat bugs its eyes in and out quickly in succession. Rose is doing both!
- February 15th, 2016 – Stephan J. Lipskis will be speaking on “Protecting the Money You Leave to Your Children from Their Divorce” at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4453 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
- February 16th, 2016 – Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro is presenting on Veteran’s Aid and Attendance again with the Crossings at Independence at 10am. Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4453 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
- February 18th, 2016 – Stephan J. Lipskis will be speaking on “Protecting the Money You Leave to Your Children from Their Divorce” at Hilton Gardin Inn, 5921 Harbour View Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23435.
- February 20th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook is traveling to Charlottesville for the 2016 UnProgram with VAELA. He will be giving a presentation on Advance Medicaid Planning Strategies, as well as addressing nuances of gifting by Power of Attorney.
- February 23rd, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking on Long-Term Care Planning at The Crossings of Harbour View at 10AM.
- March 5th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking at the SNA Meeting in Hawaii on “Residential Planning for the Adult Disabled Child of an Elder or Decedent.”
- March 14th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be speaking on “Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance” at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4453 Bonney Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462.
- March 15th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be speaking on “Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance” at Hilton Gardin Inn, 5921 Harbour View Blvd., Suffolk, VA 23435.
- March 16th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking at the Hampton Roads Chapter Enrollment Society Meeting about Trust and Decedent’s Estate taxation issues.
- March 24th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking on Long-Term Care Planning at The Crossings of Harbour View at 10AM.
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