Dancers Hoof it for Horses Therapy

In the era of hip-hop, metal bands and song mash-ups, a ballroom dancing competition might sound a little old-fashioned, but the Florida Fun Mini Match mixes in contemporary songs for an exuberant evening of fun for both dancers and spectators. Fancy dancers swished by wearing sequined and glittered dresses; skirts flared as dancers twirled; and male dancers often sparkled with glittery bowties or striking white-against-black ties. Featuring high-energy choreography set to both classic ballroom dance tunes and contemporary songs like Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s,” professional and amateur dancers competed in this 8th annual Florida Fun Mini Match event that benefited the Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA).

“We’re pleased to announce that we raised over $10,000 this year to benefit MTRA,” said Mary K. Thomas, owner of Dance Dance Dance Studio, EquiStaff and Fast Track Staffing. That amount was the highest raised in the event’s history, a fact that pleased all involved.

“I attended similar mini match type events in other areas,” Thomas said, “and wanted to bring the magic of ballroom dance to this community.” The fundraiser spotlighted ballroom dance and entertained attendees with couples performing the waltz, foxtrot, tango, rumba and swing.

MTRA also raised money through a silent auction offering various experiences, gift baskets and jewelry donated by Horse Country Carriage Tours, Florida School of Massage, Be Well Holistic Massage, Sway with Me, The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa, Innova Wellness Spa, Dunkin’, Maria Borneman with Premier Designs Jewelry, The Olive Oil Market, Bob Cretul, The Mustard Seed Collection, Honey’s Pet Salon, local artist Renee Miracle, Lisa Heath of Colorstreet Nails, Salon Bliss, The Training Toole, Mary Thomas, Wildfire Custom Horse Accessories and several individual donors.

In addition to contributing auction items, the Equine Performance Center and Wildfire Custom Horse Accessories donated their time and collaborated in order to bring Parley, a miniature therapy horse, to the event.

“We also really enjoyed Parley making his debut to give kisses out to the talented dancers and spectators,” said Rovira. “He demonstrated the magical connection with therapeutic sessions following his jumping and playing outdoor break before leaving and then immediately dropping his energy level while bonding with an MTRA Ambassador Family and rider with cerebral palsy.  He laid his head in her lap on her wheelchair, gave gentle horse kisses, and brought a giant smile to our rider’s face before making his final exit from the event.”

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