Show features Special Olympics athletes from Armstrong, Indiana
A new Special Olympics equestrian program will be on display this month at a show in Indiana County.
The Special Olympics of Armstrong and Indiana Counties has eight people with intellectual disabilities in the program it launched last month. Five others are waiting to join, said equestrian coach Kristen Kalanavich.
“We focus on forming a partnership between the rider and horse, since each athlete works with the same horse every time,” Kalanavich said. “They don't realize it, but during their time with the horses, the athletes are really working on creating life and independence skills in a very therapeutic setting.”
Athletes in the program work with coaches and volunteers to ride, groom and care for horses.
The equestrian team will show off its skills from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 27 at Winterfield Farms, 495 Winterfield Road, Indiana.
The equestrian program has about 20 volunteers who help give lessons, work with the athletes and plan fundraisers to cover expenses for its second season in October.
It costs about $10,000 to run the program, and, like other Special Olympics events, athletes participate for free. Unlike other Special Olympics programs, the equestrian team will only be taking part in local events.
“It's just because of a lack of funding,” Kalanavich said. “We'd have to do more lessons and pay to haul our horses and tack and cover housing, which would cost at least $2,000, which we don't have.”
The local Special Olympics organization gets the majority of its funding through fundraisers and grants from agencies like the United Way. Kalanavich said she is confident the equestrian program will raise enough money to one day move those on the waiting list onto the team and start participating in events outside the region.
“I hope we can make this program as big as possible, since the area doesn't have any other therapeutic riding programs,” Kalanavich said.
She added that one only has to look at the athletes with the animals to appreciate the value of the riding program.
“There's no fear or timid feelings, and all of them see their horses as a best friend,” Kalanavich said. “It's easy to tell by the way they talk to the horses that they're really enjoying it.”
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Robbery nets stint in prison for Marion Center man
- Woman dead in East Franklin car-coal truck collision
- Annual train display will benefit Ford City food pantry
- Ford City church, Lenape Technical School team up to provide happy Thanksgiving
- Armstrong softball team sends off 41 Operation Christmas Child boxes
- Christmas train is an annual Armstrong holiday tradition
- Young violinist remains dedicated to his craft, enjoys visits home to Armstrong
- Armstrong libraries offering adult coloring clubs
- Ford City council OKs purchase of 2 patrol cars
- Stanley’s Bar & Grill in Ford City offers free Thanksgiving dinner
- Ford City executive sessions called into question