Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jacob’s Fund :: Special Olympics :: Madison rides again, and Krista Shines at her First Special Olympics

Madison, showing grace under pressure, wins a fourth place ribbon
Remember Madison’s ride with the Mounted Patrol in the opening ceremonies of last year’s Special Olympics? This year marked her third in the competition, and she performed with great flexibility in the face of challenges and came away with ribbons and medals. 

Change is stressful for those of us who have no physical or learning disabilities. For children like Madison, stress is multiplied many times over.  

So when the mount she’d been practicing with came down with tendonitis the week before the Special Olympics, Madison needed to quickly become comfortable enough to complete her classes. Her first day of competition started well, but nerves overcame her and her horse, Spirit of the Wind. Switching to dependable Hershey, Madison re-did the dressage portion of the program and performed brilliantly. 

Kristen Moreland of McKenna Farms said, “We take for granted our ability to change things at the last minute, but for these riders processing time is an important part of success. I was very proud of her just going with the flow and taking on new challenges like the champ she is! And of course she did it all with a smile on her face.”

And, as the saying goes, she got right back on that horse. She finished the show with Spirit as her mount, bringing home two bronze medals and two fourth-place ribbons.

Madison and Spirit—real teammates and winners!
Krista, happy first-time competitor
Krista has been riding for just nine months, but when she rode Major into the dressage ring, she was outstanding.  She’d memorized the complete test (something Kristen urges her riders to do to boost their confidence, knowing that they can do something on their own). That confidence brought her a gold medal.

Showmanship, a class that requires waking on foot leading your horse through a pattern, is judged on style, grace, conformation, and completing the pattern correctly. This is a real test for Krista, who has difficulty walking due to Cerebral Palsy. Yet Krista walked away with the bronze for this one.  

Krista atop Major in the ring
She went on to pick up gold in equitation and in her partner class in Unified Drill, a great fun class. In Unified Drill a rider picks a partner and a song. Krista chose Delaney, a high school student, as her partner, and Katy Perry’s Fireworks for their song, which they choreographed. They dressed in costumes, with headpieces made by Krista’s mom, and finished by throwing confetti to the sounds of the Firework Finale.

Krista and Delaney in Unified Drill
Learning, competing with their best stuff, dancing, dressing up and having fun – things all kids love. Seeing Madison and Krista’s accomplishments fills us with hope and tugs at our hearts. We are proud to support children as they seek to make their dreams a reality. If you’d like to join us (and we’re thrilled when you do), you can donate 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 can allocate your donations as you wish. We’re currently supporting three-year old twins Landon and Cameron, and teen Brandon.

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