NORTH PORT — The connection between humans and animals can sometimes be one that doesn’t need words — just moments.

Reins Inspiring Change helps veterans and children who struggle with mental and developmental disabilities, PTSD, substance abuse, depression and more.

Reins of Change is also a sanctuary for horses that have been abandoned or surrendered. There are 14 horses and four ponies in the program, and those animals are also used in the other programs Shades of Green Riding Stable sponsors.

The Shades of Green Annual Fall Farm Festival, held earlier this month, raised $1,850 for Reins Inspiring Change Equine Therapy, Inc. nonprofit organization.

Other programs include “Friendship Group,” a group that provides equine therapy to children with social issues and developmental delays and the “Barn Literature Program,” a program that helps teach literacy to children and adults.

Dolores Tricarico, owner of Shades of Green, said that they also offer outdoor exercise programs, as well as programs for veterans.

“We have a lot of programs here that give back to the community, and we could always use more donations to keep those programs going,” she said.

Courtney Fontenot, a photographer in Port Charlotte, volunteered at the event to take photos.

“I love this community, and I love what Shades of Green does for the community, so I wanted to volunteer my time and talents to them. This is a family friendly environment. They love kids and so do I, so it just made sense to be here,” said Fontenot, who does unicorn photos with the horses and ponies at Shades of Green.

Laura Smith, of North Port, was among those who attended with her family.

She said the Fall Festival was a perfect time to bring her kids out to check out what the stables offered and they were “impressed” with the activities, like horseback riding and a small petting zoo that included pigs and goats.

Shades of Green Riding Stable is located at 3189 Tropicaire Blvd., North Port.

For more information on any of the programs offered at the stables, or to make donations, call Tricarico at 941-626-0214.

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