Thursday, August 23, 2012

JACOB'S FUND :: Special Olympics :: Meet Lauren & David

Lauren during her gold medal performance atop Aka-San (Red)
Lauren getting a good luck high five from Kristen before her competition

RIDER: Lauren
AGE: 17 
HORSE: Pocket Full of Sunshine 
CLASSES: Dressage W/T/C, Equitation and Trail


Meet Lauren. This amazing young woman is such a beautiful rider that, when she is on a horse, you would never guess that she has a disability. We had the privilege of watching her ride during our trip to McKenna Farms last fall. So graceful!

Lauren was born with cerebral palsy and to this day has a noticeable hitch in her step. Whenever she dismounts her horse and begins to walk, people are always amazed at what she was able to accomplish on horseback. She is a straight A student, a senior in high school, and currently applying at colleges. Lauren has her driver's license, a thrill she thought she would never achieve.

Lauren has a true passion for the sport of dressage. She is very competitive in able-bodied shows throughout Georgia. She began riding at the age of 3 during hippotherapy at McKenna Farms and has been on a horse ever since! At the age of 11, she began riding with Kristen, one of the workers at the Farm, and fell in love with competitive riding. 

In the 2011 Special Olympics, Lauren rode Aka-San (Red) to win the gold medal in Dressage, Advanced II Division. This award is the highest level offered at the Special Olympics and involves tricky transitions and challenging maneuvers using the walk, trot and canter gaits.

Hershey Kisses before his ride with Lauren
When Hershey Kisses (pictured above) wasn't being flown by the phoenix in Candace's unified drill, he was transformed into Captain Jack Sparrow for Lauren's Pirates of the Caribbean routine. It was another gold medal moment for Lauren and her partner, Heather, in the advanced division.


David atop O'Possum flying through their equitation pattern
for the judges in 2011 Special Olympics

RIDER: David
AGE: 40 
HORSE: Aka-San (Red) 


Meet David. David had a tramautic brain injury as a child and also suffers through many physical ailments. Due to some recent surgeries, he is unable to ride at this year's show but is coming along as part of the McKenna Farms team to support everyone else! He has a strong, vivacious spirit and never lets anything get him down. 


Thanks to the financial support of people like you, more kids can receive the therapy they need that may allow them to one day compete in the Equestrian Special Olympics. The Red Thread Promise is currently supporting 3 boys at McKenna Farms: Cameron, Landon and Brandon. If you'd like to make a donation toward their hippotherapy and therapeutic riding, you can do so via check or PayPal (upper right in the side bar). 

Check back tomorrow to meet more of this year's competitors!

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