Lander University's Bearcat therapeutic riding program held its annual horse show recently, an event that drew 18 riders and a large cheering section made up of family and friends who came out to show their support.
John Romaine proudly displays one of the two ribbons he won at a recent horse show sponsored by Lander University's Bearcat therapeutic riding program.
Therapeutic riding coordinator Beth Wood said it was the first horse show of its type at Lander's Equestrian Center. She added that riders demonstrated their riding skills using voice commands and reins to prompt their horses to walk, stop, and turn, plus using hand-eye coordination to complete tasks while riding.
Contestants competed in a total of eight categories, including therapeutic riding, two pole bending events , youth and adult trail classes, barrels, trail class trot and English equitation.
Each rider was entered in two events, and everyone went home with at least one ribbon. Mary Weaver, coach of Lander's Equestrian Team, was the judge, calling upon her experience at having judged special Olympics equestrian events elsewhere.
Equestrian Center director Nancy Poston said the show was an opportunity for the riders to demonstrate skills they have learned in Lander's therapeutic riding classes.
Therapeutic horseback riding is designed to improve the physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral and educational skills for people with disabilities.