Courtesy of Gretchen Roth
Leader Hannah Roth with Mary Budrewicz on “TJ” and Ted Hall on “Amy.”
Eight Special Olympians to compete in state games
Twenty-seven local riders from Rainbow Ridge Therpeutic, Inc. in Geneseo comprised the lion’s share of those competing in the regional Special Olympics on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Lehman Stables in Mendon. Of those, eight will be going on to the statewide fall games the weekend of Oct. 19–20 in Glens Falls, with the equestrian portion being held at Skidmore College.
An overall total of 39 athletes competed in English and Western divisions based on their ability and age. Comparable groups were then broken down into independent riders and those requiring support from side-walkers and/or leaders. Rainbow Ridge riders in the regional Special Olympics ranged in age from eight to 74 years old.
Rainbow Ridge Therapeutic is a member organization in PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International serving Livingston and Wyoming counties. Founded in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) to promote safe and effective therapeutic horseback riding throughout the United States and Canada, today PATH Intl. has nearly 800 member centers and over 6,300 individual members in countries all over the world, who help and support more than 42,000 men, women and children with special needs each year through a variety of equine-assisted activity and therapy programs.
Lori Clark has been riding for four years. Whereas it used to take 20 minutes or more to help her off her horse, she now dismounts on her own. In her mid-40s, Lori says riding a horse is a lot like riding a motorcycle, which she enjoys doing with her father.
Program director Julie Burnett recounted that rider Kim Dieter and Lady had a bit of a surprise at the competition when a tractor started behind them unexpectedly. “Kim hung in there when Lady reacted, and they were fine,” she stated proudly.
The program provides engaging and uplifting opportunities and experiences not only for the riders, but for volunteers as well. Gretchen Roth told me how her heart swelled when she witnessed the progress made by students over the time her daughter Hannah, a senior at Geneseo Central, was volunteering. As riders came forward to accept medals as the games, she thought, “My daughter had a part in making that happen! What a wonderful experience for everyone. It is really amazing.”
Hannah decided to volunteer because of her love of horses. “I need them, and this place is so relaxed and cozy. Everyone is accepted.”
This year’s riding program will conclude with the state games, and recommence in the spring with volunteer trainings prior to the riding season. Rainbow Ridge Therapeutic, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3). If you are interested in making a tax-deductible contribution contact Julie Burnett at 245-8125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regional Special Olympics Results
English Walk/Trot Independent: 1. Amanda Lombardo on Lady; 2. Suzi Lombardo on Rosie. The two sisters traded placings in their first time competing in dressage using the U.S. Pony Club modified Introductory test.
Western Walk/Jog Adult Independent Division A: 1. Justin Newburn on Max; 2. Casey Jo Creamer on Allie (in his first show); 3. Laura Newton on Lacey (in her first show); 4. Michael Cuttitta on Eclipse.
Western Walk/Jog Adult with Leader: 1. Lori Clark on Eclipse; 2. Gary Hayes on Max; 3. Scott Rymer on Amy (in his first show); 4. Ed Silcox Jr. on Allie. In the Trail class these four finished Scott, Ed, Lori and Gary in first through fourth respectively.
Western Walk/Jog Adult with Leader Division B: 1. Heather Bump of Eclipse; 2. Tom Ruf on Allie (in his first show); 3. Kim Dieter on Lady; 4. Andrew Mead on Lacy (first show and on a borrowed horse); 5. Dennis Johantgen on Amy. In the trail class they finished with Andrew on top, followed by Dennis, Heather, Tom and Kim.
Western Walk/Jog Adult with Leader Division C: 1. Carly Standera on Eclipse; 2. Justine DeLuca on allie; 3. Tom Edwards on Amy (in his first show). In their trail class, Justine claimed the blue, followed by Tom and Carly.
Senior Western Equitation Walk Only with Supports (leader and side-walkers): 2. Ted Hall on Amy; 3. Mary Budrewicz on Tee Jay. Mary won the trail class, with Ted coming in third.
Junior Western Equitation Walk/Jog with Supports: 1. Dylan McClurg on Lady; 2. Zachary Mogavero on Tee Jay (in his first show); 3. Mya Lyn Albanese on Rosie. In the trail class Zachary captured the blue, followed by Dylan and Mya Lyn.
Joy in Fowlerville will have to wait
Expectations were high last Saturday when local favorite Archangel started at even money in the New York Stallion Series finals on the Night of Champions at Yonkers Raceway.
The handsome three-year-old colt has fared well at that venue this year, shattering three records in his upset win of the Yonkers Trot in June when he claimed the first leg of harness racing’s Triple Crown.
Alas, things did not go his way this time, as a passing storm front brought torrential rains for the eighth race, not that anyone is claiming that as the reason why, shortly after surging up to second in the field and looking like he was on his way to the win, he uncharacteristically broke stride into a canter — a first for him in his 14-10-2-1 record this year with winnings approaching the million dollar mark.
“With the heavy rain and footing, he was just going a little too last on the final turn to hold on. It happens, just one of those things,” stated trainer and part owner Peter Arrigenna philosophically.
Archangel came out of the race with no ill effects and heads south to Lexington, Kentucky, this week to prepare for the final leg of the harness racing Triple Crown – the Kentucky Futurity on October 7.
Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m. – the start of the formal season for the Genesee Valley Hunt begins with the traditional procession up Geneseo’s Main Street from the east lawn of the Wadsworth Homestead by hounds, hunt staff, and annual subscribers, through the entrance to the Hartford House property at the north end of town, and on to the fields and woodlands beyond.
This spectacle is a delightful and unique part of the local color. If you haven’t been there with your coffee and camera, try to make this the year.