Young Equestrians Help Feed Horses N Heroes Mounts

Eighteen-year-old Daniela Stransky of Miami Beach, 13-year-old Sheer Levitin of Delray Beach, 11-year-old Victor Bastet of Wellington and 10-year-old Daniel Karam of Caracas, Venezuela, along with other like-minded youngsters, banded together to raise thousands of dollars to help buy feed and care for the 30 mounts at the South Florida nonprofit organization Horses N Heroes.

When not in the saddle at the Winter Equestrian Festival, these young show jumping talents were busy hoofing it door to door, stable to stable, selling raffle tickets for the first-ever Step by Step Foundation Feed Drive.

“Horses can change lives,” said Stransky, a senior at Miami-Dade High School who has been competing in the jumpers since she was 12. “Being able to interact and care for these animals, just spending time around them, is amazing. We wanted to help Horses N Heroes so that the girls in the program could continue to experience the joy that comes with horses.”

“I made $320 for the charity,” added Levitin, a seventh grader who competes in the junior jumpers. “I ended up selling raffle tickets to my neighbors with my friends, just knocking and going from door to door, asking people at the Mizner Country Club.”

It was Bastet who sold the winning ticket to Mercedes Brugal. “It was funny,” recalled the children’s jumper competitor. “Every time I saw Mercedes at the horse show, she would ask me when we were doing the final drawings, and she was the person to win first prize and the pleasure bike.”

The second place prize, a children’s bike, went to Perla Capriles, and third prize, another children’s bike, went to Paddock Cakes founder Bryan Bock, who immediately donated it back to Step by Step to be used for the next raffle.

“I have a great team of young equestrians who want to help,” explained Liliane Stransky, the founder of Step by Step and owner of Stransky’s Mission Farm in Wellington. “They took it upon themselves to go out and sell as many raffle tickets as possible, not just to horse people at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, but to their friends, neighbors, teachers and people in their communities who may have never even sat on a horse, let alone fed one.

Horses N Heroes, which has locations in Marion County and Palm Beach County, doesn’t have the money to cover the cost of feed.

“We see an average of eight to ten girls, ages 7 and up, every day who live close to, or below, the poverty level,” explained Mindy Nolan-Morrow, executive director of Horses N Heroes. “It costs us over $15,000 a month to run the program. Each horse costs approximately $500 per month, and we use more than 90 bags of feed, 400 bales of hay and 200 bags of shavings. But it’s worth it. It is a labor of love. The girls not only get to ride and learn about the horses, but they are hard workers and do most of the chores, feeding, haying, cleaning the stalls and the paddocks.”

All the money donated will go to taking care of the horses and the farm. Every single day is a challenge just to keep the barn doors open.

“This Step by Step Feed Drive Raffle was such a success, we would like to do others throughout the year,” Stransky said. “We will plan on having other raffles throughout the year at all the big shows, like WEF as well as Ocala, Atlanta, Kentucky, Colorado and even Canada. It is always great to help those in need, and it is especially satisfying to be able to help the horses that we all love so much!”

Founded in 1994, Horses N Heroes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an equine learning and mentoring experience for young children who come from families with extreme financial constraints. At no charge, these kids are given the opportunity to bond with horses and are taught all aspects of horsemanship. For more information, visit

Learn more about Stransky’s Step by Step Foundation, visit


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