By Laney Liner
On the picturesque Saturday evening of September 19, 2015, there was a great showing of supporters to raise funds at the Crescent Beach Club in Bayville, NY for HorseAbility, a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit. HorseAbility began in 1993 and exists to enrich the lives of both children and adults with special needs. Individuals receive many therapeutic benefits through the equine facilitated programs offered by HorseAbility. Kids and adults with disabilities can benefit from HorseAbility programs.
During the event, Nassau County Legislator, Donald MacKenzie, presented Rae Natale with a Citation from the Nassau County Legislature. A Citation shows governmental recognition to individuals “who exemplify integrity, commitment and concern for the well being of the community and its residents”. Her dedication as a board member and longtime volunteer has helped hundreds of special needs individuals in a variety of ways and has even helped her daughter, Tory.
Entertainment during the beautiful event included Joanne Hutchins and Bobby Sarnowski who performed an acoustic set during the cocktail hour followed by the Sleepwalk Dance Band who played all original tunes.
The final entertainment for the evening consisted of local musicians, including Hutchins and Sarnowski, and local resident and supporter Alan Tabaldi of Bayville, amongst others. This band was formed specifically for this event, and was named “Honky Tory”, in honor of Rae Natale’s daughter!
Many local businesses and residents of Bayville, NY and beyond supported the event by donating items for the Chinese Auction. Everyone from HorseAbility is grateful for the kindness they showed for this event.
Getting to Know Tory Natale and The Hampton Classic
Rae’s daughter, Tory, born with Cerebral Palsey, credits her time at HorseAbility with her ability to walk as well as she does now.
Tory has been with organization since the age of eight and participated in their summer camp program. “Horseback riding brings a lot of happiness to me and I feel privileged to be a part of it. They have made me the person I am today. I hate the word “can’t.” I push myself and am willing to try things. HorseAbility helped bring out my inner strength,” said Tory Natale.
Through the The Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD), Tory is one of the first riders ever to compete in the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY in the divisions offered for riders with disabilities.
Tory is one of only two riders that have competed in all ten seasons and finals for the LIHSSRD show program. She currently is the rider with the most cumulative points for overall competition in any division.
Al Staab, Co-Founder of Oak Neck Athletic Council, said “You won’t find a greater representation of desire and determination than Tory.”
If you want to learn more about HorseAbility located on the campus of SUNY Old Westbury in Westbury, NY, and the programs they offer, please visit HorseAbility.org or call 516.333.6151.