University of Vermont

Internships & Careers

Little American Competition Opportunities for Riders with Disabilities - (Kristin Maslack)

Location:  Jericho VT

"Many people have heard of the supposed healing properties of animals. Pet owners will attest to the idea that their animals can make them feel happier. I had heard many times of the benefits of using horses and riding for therapy. People with both mental and physical disabilities seemed to undergo obvious improvement when on the back of a horse or when working with a horse.  It was not until I had the opportunity to see and work with riders with disabilities that I really believed it. When I was asked to work at the first ever New England Equestrian Festival this past July, I leapt at the offer. I spent months keeping track of rapidly flying emails between committee members. The week of the show, I worked to assemble a silent auction, helped to put together class and championship prizes, and got the grounds of a large equestrian facility ready for the event.  The morning of the show found me in the secretary's booth, processing and organizing entries for approximately 100 riders.  I scurried around all day, working as the jump crew in one ring, setting up a pole bending course in another, and finding the prizes that had seemingly "disappeared" overnight! I had the opportunity to work along side many great people and learn what really goes on behind the scenes at a large successful horse show.  And most of all, I got to see the amazing connection between a person who cannot seem to communicate with the rest of the human world and her horse as they danced around the ring to music that only the crowd could hear. And, they never did miss a beat."

Last modified January 13 2010 01:36 PM

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