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New Canaan Mounted Troop Contributes to Equestrian Community with Complete Horsemanship Program

New Canaan, CT – February 12, 2007 - New Canaan Mounted Troop, Inc. (NCMT), a non-profit educational and charitable youth organization, is devoted to building leadership, responsibility, and confidence in youth through sound horsemanship. Since 1939, NCMT has contributed to the education of children with its long-standing commitment to serve the equestrian community.

“NCMT instructs its students at the grass root level with the very same concepts that George Morris used in his Horsemanship Training Session last month,” explained Michelle H. Schmerzler, president of NCMT. “Our Equine Care and Riding Program has helped develop our kids into ‘true horsemen.’ It focuses on learning from the ground up,” she related. “Each week, we use a detailed curriculum to teach 145 students important horsemanship skills that start with the complete care of the horse, equipment and stable. Everyone is required to attend those lectures, regardless of riding level.”

“We also have about 25 children who sign up for our equine care program only,” she continued, “and about half of them ride at other barns. A different lecture topic is introduced each week and hands-on application of new skills is incorporated into the learning process. For example, students may learn about anatomy, physiology, feeding grain and supplements or bandaging. We also teach them course design and much more. In addition, we invite guest clinicians and professionals to help teach our students.”

“NCMT is home to 30 horses that are either donated or lent to us,” she said. “We give horses and ponies that are not ready to retire the opportunity to step down from show circuit careers to a low impact environment. These horses are the heart of our program; they are loved by all, and they get the best possible care from our students and staff,” added Schmerzler.

NCMT has many exciting plans in store for the future and is working with the USHJA to develop new ideas that will benefit both its students and the equestrian community. It will expand its educational clinics, seminars and horse shows. “We have four USEF shows annually and several schooling shows,” mentioned Schmerzler. “New grounds and an improved facility will give us the much needed capacity to grow. We also hope that eventually our program curriculum can serve as a model for others to follow within the equestrian industry.”

“Some of our riders have moved on to highly successful careers in the equine industry,” she said. “In fact, the history of this organization is fascinating since George Morris began his career at NCMT and now serves on our Advisory Board. Ronnie Mutch and Dave Kelly also rode here years ago, and the tradition continues. Bill Steinkraus’ granddaughter joined the beginner program last fall, and Jenny Iverson Schwartz signed up her daughter several years ago,” she disclosed.

“NCMT embodies the very best a riding program can offer,” testified Schwartz about NCMT. “It is a highly structured environment where young people receive quality instruction, enjoy true camaraderie and participate in community service,” she stated. “Above all, these kids really learn the love of the horse through the amazing Equine Care program NCMT offers. In my entire riding career, I never came across anything that compares to this program.”

Many of the riders at NCMT remain in the program for several years, while others choose to move on to a more competitive environment. In all cases, NCMT encourages and helps its students realize their potential. “We maintain relationships with other area barns and often work together to find the best possible fit for our students who decide to pursue competition,” Schmerzler revealed.

With 68 years of service, time has taken a serious toll on the barn and the indoor ring. To ensure that future generations will continue to benefit from its activities, NCMT has launched the Building on Tradition Capital Campaign, which is a $3 million initiative to build a modern facility. “A new facility is essential so we can provide our students, staff and horses with a safer and more functional environment, as well as much needed room to expand our programs,” concluded Schmerzler.

Recently, NCMT formally announced that the Capital Campaign reached its half-way mark and is now entering its public phase. “We have worked very hard and raised $1,495,000 toward our goal,” she concluded. “We are now set to move forward and will publicly raise the balance of the funds necessary to complete our projects. We very much hope to be able to count on the generosity of the members of the equestrian community for their support.”

For more information on New Canaan Mounted Troop or their Building on Tradition Capital Campaign, please visit their official web site at http://www.newcanaanmountedtroop.org.

Photo Credit: George Morris, NCMT President Michelle Schmerzler, and Kristen Abbatiello-Neff, NCMT’s executive director. Photo courtesy of NCMT.


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