Vinceremos Success at Special Olympics, Gears Up for Area Games

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WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar, 30–Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center had a successful weekend of competition during the County Special Olympics held on Saturday, Mar. 19 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during  the Winter Equestrian Festival.

More than 40 riders from Vinceremos and six from Haiti competed in the County Special Olympics to move on to the Area competition. The Area competition will be on Saturday, April 2 at the Jim Brandon Center in West Palm Beach. Vinceremos will join four other Therapeutic Riding Centers from the Palm Beach area to compete.

Vinceremos provided horses for the County Games, and will bring 12 of their 23 horses for the Area Games. Hidden Creek Jones, a donation from Margie Engle, was one of the horses. This was Jones’ second Olympic debut, however this time at the Special Olympics. “Jones was incredible, as always,” said VTRC founder and director Ruth Menor. “He seems to really enjoy his job and this was a fun thing for him to do.”

VTRC’s riders who are successful at the Area Games will advance to the State Special Olympic Equestrian Games in Tampa May 20-21 and then the International Special Olympic Games. Riders eight years of age and older are eligible to compete in the Special Olympic Games.

During the Special Olympic County Equestrian Games riders competed in English and Western equitation, trail ride competition, dressage, and pole bending. Riders representing VTRC have a range of disabilities; some competitors require full assistance while others are fully independent. Several riders competed at training level in dressage.

“The students are really excited about the Area Games,” Ruth said, “as they had a great time showing at the County level. It is so much fun to watch these kids learn and change at the center, but watching them at the Games brings out such joy in them. I have been doing this for over 20 years and I still get excited every year to watch.”

VTRC was founded 29 years ago and has been participating in the Special Olympic Equestrian Games for 23 years. There are four levels for the event: County, Area, State, and International. Menor has had students compete at the International level and has also served as an International Games coach.

VTRC is a nonprofit organization based in Loxahatchee, Florida, that provides recreational and therapeutic riding instruction to people of all ages with varying developmental, physical, and psychological disabilities. The organization, founded in 1982, assists more than 430 adults and children every year, helping them gain a sense of accomplishment, greater independence, and a higher quality of life. VTRC has received a “Premier Accreditation” rating from the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.