Wednesday, August 22, 2012

JACOB'S FUND :: Special Olympics :: Meet Candace & Giselle

Giselle and Kristen (her aid from McKenna Farms)
at the 2011 Equestrian Special Olympics
Candace sharing a good luck kiss with O'Possum
before his turn in the ring 
With the Equestrian Special Olympics coming up this weekend, we wanted to introduce you to some of the riders who will be representing McKenna Farms. We've had the opportunity to meet several of the participants during our visits to the Farm over the past year and, in particular, one special young man who The Red Thread has supported. 


Candace preparing for the "Flight of Cassandra"

RIDER: Candace
AGE: 19 
HORSE: Hershey Kisses 
CLASSES: Dressage W/T/C, Equitation and Trail


Candace was born with Spina Bifida, has endured multiple surgeries and wears leg braces when she rides - but these challenges don't put a damper on this girl's enthusiasm for riding! She is a senior in high school who is eager to participate in the Special Olympic Horse Show for the 3rd year. Two thousand twelve marks her first time competing at the advanced level, which includes the canter in all its classes. She has also competed with Kristen, her aid from McKenna Farms, at some dressage and jumping able-bodied horse shows in the greater Atlanta area.

Last year, Candace won the Bronze medal in her custom Unified Drill Costume for the Transyberian Orchestra Song "Flight of Cassandra".

Mounted atop Hershey Kisses, Candace poses in her custom
fabricated wings for the entire crowd to see
Over the course of a month, her mom, Dana, hand-cut and sewed each individual feather to create the costume's spectacular wing span. The beautiful costume transformed her daughter into a golden angel as she dazzled onlookers with her performance at the 2011 show. 


Giselle sporting a proud smile as she shows off
her gold medal after Dressage (Intermediate IV level)


RIDER: Giselle

AGE: 12 

HORSE: Major League 


CLASSES: Dressage W/T, Equitation and Trail


Giselle has been receiving therapy at McKenna Farms since before she could walk. Now a bubbly middle-schooler, she is ready to compete at the Special Olympics again. The first year she attended the Special Olympics, she used her walker to move around the grounds. This strong pre-teen's hard work has certainly paid off: she no longer uses a walker or crutches. She is completely independent!

This will be Giselle's 4th time competing at the Special Olympics and her progress over the years is evident. Not only has she moved from Intermediate II to Intermediate IV, but this year she will be competing in the showmanship class for the first time—an unassisted class in which she will independently lead the horse through a pattern on foot. What an accomplishment for this lovely young lady.  

The therapy these kids have received at McKenna Farms has greatly impacted each child's life. We are proud to support these kids and invite you to join us in making sure that every child who needs this critical therapy receives it, regardless of their family's ability to pay. Donations can be made by check or PayPal (info at the top right in the sidebar). Please be sure to indicate "Jacob's Fund" or "hippotherapy" in the memo line so we allocate your donations as you wish.

What an exciting time for these riders as they continue to hone their skills in preparation for the competition this weekend. We wish Candace, Giselle and the other riders the best during the competition and look forward to hearing how they each fare at the Olympics.

Stay tuned to meet more riders tomorrow!

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