The Leadership Venice Class of 2021 has chosen upgrading the sensory arena at InStride Therapy, in Nokomis, as its class project.

VENICE — The Leadership Venice Class of 2021 has selected InStride Therapy, in Nokomis, as the recipient of its class project.

The class will upgrade the sensory arena at InStride to improve hippotherapy — horseback — sessions that can provide between 1,200 and 1,600 unique kinesthetic stimulations in a single half-hour session, six times that of traditional therapies, according to a news release.

The sessions help riders build confidence, self-awareness, self-respect and dignity.

Each week, InStride serves 70 children and adults from Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Hillsborough counties.

In addition to through therapeutic riding and equine-assisted learning programs in partnership with other organizations, InStride offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

The upgraded sensory arena will include a sand path, a wooden board path, a stone path, a sensory garden with horse-friendly plants and multi-touch point activity boards, the release states.

Riders will be able to engage all their senses through touching various textures and shapes; smelling scents flowing through the air; seeing colorful painted sea creatures; hearing the sounds of nature; and feeling their body movements coinciding with the undulating motion of the horse while it traverses a variety of terrain, it states.

The class plans to begin construction in July with a completion date set for late September.

It’s seeking in-kind and monetary donations to assist with the project. For additional information, contact Barbara Hines, Leadership Venice director, at


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