Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center sent 10 individuals to the Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center Horse Show in Chagrin Falls on June 21. The participants are students at RTEC that range in certain mental and physical handicaps.

“They just love competing. The invitational is not about winning or losing, just about competing and having fun. Everybody cheers everybody on,” said Director of Operations Tara Corrigan.

Corrigan is also a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship instructor. She instructs youth of different ages and skill levels of equitation. The classes help mentally and physically handicapped youth to socialize with other peers, to make verbal commands, and the exercises help students with hand/eye coordination.

The invitational at Fieldstone Farm evaluated participants in three categories: trail riding, dressage riding, and equitation. Each category was sub-categorized into skill levels; beginner, intermediate, futures and advanced. Each “class” winner received a trophy.

One of those class winners was 17-year-old Sarah Ash. She competed in the beginner's class for Trail riding and tied for first place out of five riders.

“She really enjoyed being with the other students. Sarah isn't really much of an animal person, but she really likes being with the other students and the volunteers,” said Sarah's mother, Donna Ash. Sarah has Down Syndrome, so Donna said that going to the class is good for her physically as well as socially. Sarah has been in the program since she was 12, but first became interested in the program at age 7.

Danielle Griffith received a third place ribbon for her performance in trail riding and a second place ribbon for her performance in equitation. She is 41-years-old and has been part of Raemelton's program for one year.

“She's always had a wonderful rapport with animals. She can tell you all about any animal. So she loves the Raemelton class,” said her mother Wendy Farragher. “I have never seen her, in her 41 years, so interested and attentive in what's going on around her. She didn't miss anything that day. It was just a wonderful day for both of us,” she added.

Griffith has a microcephallic brain, but she still stays active with swimming, running and softball- to name a few sports. She has competed in the Special Olympics, and hopes to again this summer.

To register for classes or to volunteer at RTEC call 419-756-0040 or visit their website. Check out the contributed video for additional information on RTEC.

I grew up in Richland County, traveled the world and gained my Bachelor's in English from the Ohio State University, along with a minor in Professional Writing. I have an insatiable curiosity and love to write about my findings. Oh, and I'm left-handed.