TES in the news...

temp-post-image

From the LAEC Newsletter...

August’s Featured Event: Special Olympics

The Special Olympics took place from July 24th to August 2nd at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The equestrian portion of the games saw 123 athletes from 35 countries competing in four disciplines: equitation, trail, dressage and a team relay.
One thing the athletes didn’t arrive with was a horse. The Special Olympics selected Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship to manage 80 horses for the event. Riders from 4 to 67 years old were matched with a compatible horse so that they could show off their riding ability.
Horses on loan needed to be quiet, sound, well-schooled at the walk, trot, and canter while competing in an intense show atmosphere. Lexington, California, and Ramazotti 75 were among those used for the games, and they also board at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Here is a little bit about each of them as well as what their owners had to say.

Lexington
Owner: Caroline Bersch
Breed: Dutch Warmblood
Age: 14 years
Height: 16.2 hands
Ridden by Kasper Mejdahl, 32, of Denmark
Bronze in Medal Relay
Ridden by Santiago Salas, 14, of Argentina
Placed sixth in Dressage
What was your involvement with the Special Olympics?
After I heard about the Special Olympics, I was so excited to volunteer. I donated my horse, Lex, to the games, and volunteered twelve hours a day for ten days. Starting at 6:30 am, I would ride anywhere from one to three horses to school them for the athletes. The rest of the day was full of taking care of my horse. This included grooming, tacking, bathing, feeding, cleaning his stall, and braiding him. During breaks, I got to know and meet the amazing athletes. The ten days were a lot of work, but it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Why did you decide to donate your horse to be used during the Special Olympics?
The Special Olympics were looking for calm show horses. After I heard that, I knew that I had to donate him. There are two things that make Lex so special. One is his ability to want to compete and do his best for his rider, and the second is his heart. He has the biggest heart out of every horse I have ever met. He wants to take care of and please anyone who is riding him. I knew that because of these qualities, he would be a great horse to donate. Seeing how happy he made his riders was the most incredible thing anyone could ever ask of a horse. He is truly a once in a lifetime horse and I am so fortunate and grateful to own him.
What was your experience during the Special Olympics with the riders and the organization?
Both the organization and the riders were amazing. It was clear how excited the volunteers were to be there. We immediately all became friends with the riders. They are some of the most incredible people I have ever met. At the end of the week, one of my horse's riders even made bracelets for me and some of the other volunteers. It was a week full of meeting new friends, smiles, and lots of hugs and happy tears.
What is your favorite part of the Special Olympics?
My favorite part of the Special Olympics was seeing how happy and proud the athletes were. I go to horse shows very often, and I have witnessed some riders that are only happy when they win. The Special Olympics athletes did not base their happiness on what medal they won. They celebrated team work and the feeling of accomplishment. It was truly amazing to see them get their medals and congratulate each other. It was such an incredible experience that I will never forget.

California
Owner: Traditional Equitation School (TES)
Breed: Argentine Thoroughbred
Age: 26 years
Height: 15 hands
Ridden by Ekaterina Filatova, 26, of Russia
Gold in Dressage, Silver in Working Trail, Gold in Equitation
Ridden by Pratima Patel, 28, of New Zealand
Bronze in Dressage, fourth in Working Trail, Silver in Equitation
Why did you decide to donate your horse to be used during the Special Olympics?
As a riding school, we have quite a few horses that would have been suitable for this event. We thought that donating a horse would be a way for us to show good will toward all the riders visiting from other countries, and would be the best way for our school to support the mission of the Special Olympics.
What was your experience during the Special Olympics with the riders and the organization?
We found that all of the competitors exhibited a very high level of horsemanship, and we were impressed by the support of the families and teams for the riders. You could see that the riders really bonded with their mounts during the short time they had to work together.
How did it make you feel seeing your horse in the arena with the rider at this event?
We were so proud of our girl! Even the campers at summer horse camp got a chance to watch her, and they really enjoyed cheering for her.

Ramazotti 75
Owner: Lehua Custer
Breed: Swedish Warmblood
Age: 19 years
Height: 16 hands
Ridden by Laurie Descouture, age 22 of France
Gold in Equitation, Gold in Dressage, fourth in Trail
What was your experience during the Special Olympics with the riders and the organization?
The riders were very impressive. Talented, positive, dedicated, and patient.
How did it make you feel seeing your horse in the arena with the rider at this event?
I was so impressed that I brought me to tears.
What is your favorite part of the Special Olympics?
I loved watching how the riders came together to support each other and stayed very positive through many ups and downs.