Riders representing Gwinnett County, including Lilburn, brought home the gold, and lots of it, from this past weekend's Special Olympics Georgia Horse Show.
The team, coached by Dr. Marilyn Peterson of Parkwood Farms Therapy Center in nearby Snellville, received medals in all the categories it entered in the three-day competition.
“It’s a great way for people with disabilities to learn a lot about what they can do,” said Rebecca Valdez, of Liburn, whose daughter Linda has ridden in the Special Olympics Horse Show for the past three years.
Learning to ride at Parkwood Farms has given Linda confidence and has taught her patience, Valdez addded.
“Learning to control a large animal like that really gives you a feeling of confidence,” she said. “Not many other things compare with that.”
In total, the eight riders -- ages 8 to 23 -- won nine gold, seven silver and six bronze medals. Each year, the event is held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, Ga.
Eight Parkwood Farms riders from age 8 to 23 represented Gwinnett in 27 beginner, intermediate and advanced events.
Here's the breakdown of individual achievements of Lilburn riders:
- Braxton Breda of Lilburn: Gold in showmanship; silver in equitation and trail riding
- Lilly Kabel of Lilburn: Bronze in showmanship and trail riding; fourth place in equitation
- Linda Valdez of Lilburn: Gold in equitation and trail riding; bronze in showmanship
Other winners were: Brandon Carmack of Lawrenceville, Chris McClintic-Doyle of Stone Mountain, Hunter Sorenson of Grayson, Julian Stankee of Snellville and Lena Busbee of Dacula.