PATH Intl. Center Executive Director Receives Humanitarian Award

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The EQUUS Foundation named Margo Dewkett the recipient of the 2013 EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award at the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Pegasus Awards Dinner on Jan. 10, 2014. Margo is the executive director and head instructor at Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center of East Texas, Inc., a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Longview, Texas.

The USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award is a celebration of the humanitarian achievements made by a member of the equestrian world. From improving the health and welfare of the horse to promoting and expanding the general public's appreciation and respect of the diverse roles of horses, the recipient of this award has devoted considerable personal time to making the lives and quality of life of our equine partners paramount.

Margo founded Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center in 1988 with the desire to partner horses with children, adults and veterans with disabilities. She started with five horses, five volunteers, herself as the instructor and two participants. Today, Windridge's programs assist more than 120 participants weekly in a 10-county region and employ six PATH Intl. Credentialed Professionals, two PATH Intl. instructors-in-training, 21 horses and more than 60 volunteers.

Margo, supported by Windridge's board of directors, developed a research team and built a first-of-its-kind research room designed to provide scientific validation of the therapeutic benefits of equine movement. The research room is equipped with an equine treadmill and motion-capture system with specially designed software to collect and interpret real time data on human and equine interaction.

"We are proud to recognize Margo as a leader in the EAAT [equine-assisted activities and therapies] industry who has worked tirelessly to secure its professional status through research and the academic world," said John Long, USEF CEO. "However, she has never lost sight of her primary focu--the children, adults and veterans who participate in Windridge's programs."

"Margo is representative of the best PATH Intl. has to offer," said Kay Green, PATH Intl. CEO. "There is no one more deserving of this humanitarian award, and we are proud of her accomplishments and the work Windridge does for those with special needs on behalf of PATH Intl."

The EQUUS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity established in 2002 and a PATH Intl. sponsor, also known as Horse Charities of America, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of horses, enabling the therapeutic use of horses for those in need, fostering the horse-human bond, and educating the public about the horse's unique ability to empower, teach and heal. The United States Equestrian Federation is dedicated to uniting the equestrian community, honoring achievement and serving as guardians of equestrian sport. The USEF promotes the safety and welfare of horses and riders while encouraging interest, participation and excellence at every competitive level and for all breed and discipline affiliates within the Federation family equally.

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) was formed in 1969 to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. At 850 member centers, more than 56,000 children and adults find a sense of independence through involvement with horses. These member centers range from small, one-person programs to large operations with several certified instructors and licensed therapists. In addition to therapeutic equitation, a center may offer any number of equine-assisted activities including hippotherapy, equine-facilitated mental health, driving, interactive vaulting, trail riding, competition, ground work or stable management. Through a wide variety of educational resources, the association helps individuals start and maintain successful equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. There are nearly 52,000 volunteers, 4,232 instructors, 7,503 equines and thousands of contributors from all over the world helping people at PATH Intl. Centers.