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Beautiful Music and Breathtaking Horses – Symphony of Horses 2006

By Lori Blanchard Melancon
M.T.R.A. Volunteer

Beautiful Music and Breathtaking Horses take center stage in THE SYMPHONY OF HORSES 2006.  The Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (M.T.R.A.) is producing its third amazing evening of world-class horses and riders performing to the Central Florida Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dr. Susan Robinson. The 2002 and 2004 productions thrilled sold-out crowds to the benefit of the non-profit therapeutic horseback riding program.

The 2006 performance will be held Sunday evening, December 10th and is presented by and  It will be held for the first time at the
University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The climate-controlled, 10,000 seat facility will accommodate the growing popularity of the event.

“It was a very difficult decision to move the performance out of Marion County but the O’Connell Center was the only location that could meet our growth needs and still be in driving distance to Ocala,” stated Ms. Earleen Kenyon, Director of M.T.R.A.

The performers include a virtual Who’s Who in the horse and entertainment worlds. “They just step up to the plate and volunteer to be there for us,” says Ms. Kenyon. 


The 2006 list includes Chester Weber, Pat Parelli, Misdee Wrigley, The Arabian Nights’ Black Stallion, Medieval Times, Eitan Beth-Halachmy’s Cowboy Dressage, and Denny Chapman’s Wild West Show. An additional performer is Carson Kressley, nationally ranked competitive equestrian, star of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and author of the children’s book “You’re Different and That’s Super.”

Dr. Susan Robinson will be conducting the Central Florida Philharmonic Orchestra for their third collaboration with M.T.R.A. “She has been with us through the last two events and is just amazing.  You can’t count on horses taking cues or hitting their marks so Susan has to keep one eye on them and one eye on her orchestra.  She makes it a seamless flow of beautiful music!” states Kenyon. 

The Symphony of Horses 2006 is produced by and benefits The Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (M.T.R.A.).  The therapeutic horseback riding and driving program serves children and adults with mental, physical and emotional disabilities through the incredible relationship of human and horse. Since its establishment in 1986 it has served thousands of individuals. It currently provides over 400 rides per month with the dedication of 200+ active volunteers. Proceeds from the evening’s performance will help the development of M.T.R.A.’s second location and new program efforts. M.T.R.A. is also making a donation to the
Hope Center of Archer (Horses Helping People, Inc.). This is a fellow program located in Alachua County. As Ms. Kenyon knows, “It’s all about giving a leg up!”

Sunday - December 10, 2006
Performance Time: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm - gates open at 5:00 pm
Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center at the University of Florida
Tickets: General Admission: $35---Kids Under 13: $20   
            Celebrity Party with Preferred Seating: $150
Available from: University Box Office  (352) 392-1653
                       or Ticket Master (904) 353-3309 (fees apply)
Sponsorship Packages: or (352) 624-4240
To Volunteer:  call Sarah Tooher – (352) 624-4240

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