Archive for the ‘Special Olympics’ Category


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Windrush Farm hosted the Massachusetts Special Olympics Fall Equestrian State Finals for the 23rd year in a row on Saturday, October 4th. More than 35 athletes from the northeast qualified for the games.

Classes began at 9:30am with “welcoming ceremonies” at noon officially opening the games. After the color presentation the Special Olympics athletes recited the Special Olympics Oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Athletes in the northeast part of the state qualify to compete and are mounted on Windrush horses led by the farm’s volunteers.

More than 40 Windrush volunteers make this day possible, acting as leaders, side-walkers, barn help and event management staff.

This is Linda Strovink’s 3rd year as a Special Olympics Volunteer. “Volunteering at Windrush has given me the opportunity to combine many interests, including love of horses, working with special needs people, volunteering & being outdoors,” shares Linda. “To help a special needs rider — who might be limited in so many other activities — grow & learn to ride a horse is the most inspirational work I can imagine!  The staff, riders, volunteers &, of course, the horses are all so amazing — I look forward to each class & try to help out whenever I can. ”

Competitors are judged first on the trail class. This includes an obstacle course with challenges, such as walking over poles and weaving through cones. One of the harder exercises is circling a barrel, picking up a ring, and then carrying it to a barrel on the opposite side of the arena.

Then they move to the equitation class where athletes are judged on their control of the horse and position in the walk and trot, including the canter for the more independent.

Equine assisted activities have been proven to improve balance and coordination as well as increase self-confidence and self-image.

“This event is so special to us at the farm,” said Program Director Jenna Turcotte. “Watching how the athletes conduct themselves, how well they ride, and just the pure joy and excitement in their faces makes this such a memorable day.”

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Tri-Town Coverage

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Contributed by Diane Koller

Saturday Oct. 13 was an unseasonably cold Autumn day. 43 horseback riders with learning disabilities and other challenges gathered at Windrush Farm in Boxford to compete in the Equestrian Division of the Massachusetts Special Olympics, Northeastern Division. Most of the riders are in training at Windrush, a therapeutic riding facility teaching riding and horsemanship to children and adults with a variety of special needs. Others were from similar facilities including  T.H.E. Farm in Tewksbury, Andimar Stables in Billerica, and Friends for Tomorrow in Lincoln. All riders were in competition for the prized blue ribbon, but perhaps, more importantly, in competition with themselves to display the riding skills they have worked so hard on to the best of their abilities.

Everyone has heard of the Special Olympics. What set Saturday’s  games apart was the joy and pride of accomplishment palpable upon entering the arena where the event was taking place.  Not merely a competition, the event was an opportunity for people with disabilities to show they can work to maximum capacity and demonstrate a range of physical and intellectual capability. The Special Olympics first began in Chicago in 1968, through Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s dedication to showing that children and adults with disabilities were more physically capable to participate in sports than anyone had originally thought possible.  The first games boasted 1,000 participants. Today the games continue under the leadership of her son, Timothy Shriver, with about 3.3 million athletes participating worldwide.


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See all the photos!

50 riders traveled from all over Massachusetts to compete in the Special Olympics Equestrian finals on Saturday at Windrush Farm in North Andover. Out of the 50 riders that qualified, 13 take weekly lessons at their home barn, Windrush Farm.

Classes began at 9:00am with the ‘welcoming ceremonies’ at noon officially opened by Special Olympics President Bob Johnson.  This is the 20th year Windrush Farm has been the host site for the Fall Special Olympics Equestrian Finals. More than 125 spectators came to cheer on the riders and Windrush Farm judge and Board Member, Nat Coolidge recited the Judge’s Oath. The day was made possible thanks to the coaches, volunteers, and athlete’s families’ dedication and support.


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We’re pleased to host the Special Olympics Equestrian Finals. Competition is going on now. Come on down and cheer on the athletes.

Check out the photos!



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