Lanesborough Hosts Special Olympic Horse Riding
|The riders were grouped by skill level, rather than age, for the competition.|
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Equestrians from around the region descended on Wirtes Farm on Sunday afternoon for the Western Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Equestrian Festival.
The competition is one of four Special Olympic horse riding events across the state. Riders from Massachusetts could compete in all four shows, space permitting.
Riders associated with programs at Equus Therapeutic, Destiny's Ride and the Therapeutic Equestrian Center competed in two classes — working trail and equitation. The 25 riders were divided into groups based on skill and awards were given out to the winners.
"Everything is free. Nobody pays to participate," said Berkshire County coordinator for the Special Olympics Peggy Harner.
Some 30 volunteers helped put on the one-day event. After an opening parade and ceremony, the riders ranging in age from 8 to 50 and older competed in their division. The event has been a preliminary qualifier for the state competition but this year this is no state competition.
This is the fourth year Equus has hosted the event and the first since moving to Lanesborough from Williamstown. The organization moved to Wedgewood Stable at Wirtes Farm last fall and has expanded programming since.
"We're delighted to host this at this farm," Janet Renard of Equus said.
The organization was first chosen to host the event because it was one of the most established therapeutic equestrian organizations in the county. The organization's seven horses were used by the competitors.
Future events at Equus include a gymkhana and tack tag sale on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 10 to 4 and a benefit horse show on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 9 to 4.
Tags: horse show, horsemanship, horses, Special Olympics,