Jacksonville special-education school opens equestrian center

At 8, Presley Harvey is an experienced equestrienne.

Born with Down syndrome, she began therapeutic horse riding at 18 months old to build her core strength. At first, she was so weak she had to be held upright atop the horse. 

“She was so tiny up on that big horse,” said her mother, Pam Harvey.

Eventually, the riding helped build her strength and confidence. She held herself up and even progressed to trotting.

“She loves it,” her mother said.

So Presley was thrilled when the North Florida School of Special Education in Jacksonville, which she has attended for three years, opened a therapeutic equestrian center this summer. Part of an $11 million campus expansion, the center features a riding area, viewing deck and horse barn with four stables, tack room and office.

Riding lessons are available to the public.

The North Florida School of Special Education's new equestrian center — named for major donor Delores Barr Weaver — is now providing riding lessons for its own students as well as community members.

“It was awesome. She was so excited,” Harvey said. Now Presley 

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