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April 29, 2016
Ribbon Cutting

A New Arena for Therapeutic Horseriding in Staten Island

DDC staff prepare to cut the ribbon. The Riding Center is in the background.

With the new Ocean Breeze Riding Arena, Helping Others Overcome Personal Handicaps (HOOPH)—a therapeutic riding program that supports New Yorkers with disabilities—can now provide its services year-round. DDC Commissioner Peña-Mora was joined by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and other members of the community to celebrate the opening of the Ocean Breeze Riding Arena. The 9,600-square-foot facility offers a 5,800-square-foot riding arena, stables, areas for feeding and grooming, as well as offices, a lobby, and observation room for visitors. Situated on Father Capodanno Boulevard on Staten Island, next door to Ocean Breeze Indoor Athletic Facility, the building’s strategic location assists in the cultivation of a healthy lifestyle for all New Yorkers.

The pre-engineered metal building is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and  provides accessible parking for vans. It will serve as the headquarters of Helping Others Overcome Personal Handicaps. Therapeutic horseback riding has been found to be helpful in providing cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being for individuals with special needs—by providing stimuli from seeing, smelling, touching, and hearing, while assisting in the development of muscles necessary for walking. Horseback has been proven to improve posture, balance, joint movement, muscle control and morale.

The building was designed in conjunction with the Department of Parks and Recreation to minimize damage to the wetlands section of Ocean Breeze Park and meet new FEMA elevation standards. The design ensures that future floods will not negatively impact the building. Ocean Breeze Park currently spans more than 110 acres and was originally part of a vast tidal meadow through which a network of tidal creek channels passed through.