Special Olympics-NY Summer Series Riders and Horses Tri- & Tri-Color Again
Those Saratoga Polo School ponies did it again, delivering solid sets under saddle and over fences for Special Olympics-NY (SONY) Summer Series riders Steve Snyder, 35, (Day 2 Champion) of Long Island, Ella Hoffman, 21, (Day 1 Champion) of Loudonville, and Sophie Baghdassarian, 25, of Great Neck, in front of jumper judge Mike Moran of Bixby, OK, and over courses set by designer Rian Beals of Saugerties, during the SONY exhibition classes, August 5-6, at the New York Horse & Pony Show at HITS Saugerties. Thanks to the generosity of horse providers Mario Dino Di Salvo and Saratoga Polo School, and polo-playing h/j trainer Laurie Lynn Scott of Squid, Inc., senior equine citizens Fargo, Celebrate (aka Ducky), Tarzan and Santos were the perfect SONY partners to prove that age, like ability, is no limit to a dream.
Recognizing the importance of providing sound, safe horses for catch-riders like the SONY team were Toronto-based forage group MAAAX® LONGfibe® forage cubes, and Wellpride® Omega-3 for Horses, of Venice, Florida, which provided a sample bag of Alfa-Timothy LONGfibe® Forage Cubes no-soak hay replacer, and a three-month supply ($149 value) of Wellpride® Omega-3 fish oil supplement for horses.
“If you’re a fan of courage, then you’re a fan of Special Olympics,” read the back of the t-shirt worn by the horse show mom of SONY HITS Day 2 Champion, Steve Snyder, and fans of courage were in attendance for both days’ performances.
“It was truly a very competitive division,” said SONY assoc. director of development, Lauren Reischer. “We had ties for Reserve Champion on both days. Congrats to Ella, Steven, and Sophie for putting in fabulous, consistent rounds, and showing tremendous horsemanship and sportsmanship. We are so blessed to be here and happy to have our Special Olympics NY equestrians at this venue. It’s amazing that these shows have welcomed us in their prize list and on their grounds. To be at a USEF-rated show with our exhibition classes is an opportunity and honor not only for our riders but for Special Olympics. A special thanks to Kristen (Vale-Mosack, HITS, LLC manager) and Tom (Struzzieri, HITS, LLC founder) for their immense generosity and utmost enthusiasm for this program.”
“HITS was a natural connection for SONY and the inaugural series,” said SONY equestrian sport director, Steve Williams, noting how Struzzieri had ties with Special Olympics going back to the 1980s when he was involved with the initial development of its riding programs.
“It is an amazing experience for these riders to be with the horses. When Lauren and her team approached us about hosting their new program in Saugerties, it was a natural fit. We were excited to have them be a part of our show,” Struzzieri says.
The next SONY exhibition classes are Sept. 3 at the most prestigious show on the summer calendar, The Hampton Classic, in Easthampton, NY, where series champions Ella and Steve will be among those striving for inaugural honors as top SONY Summer Series rider.
“We are proud to be offering our athletes this unique opportunity to showcase their talent at some of the most elite competitions in New York,” said SONY President & CEO, Stacey Hengsterman at the start of the series. “Thank you, to each of the venues, for including the Special Olympics in this year’s event.”
Special Olympics New York provides inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to discover and unleash the champion within. SONY athletes experience the thrill of competing in authentic sports. They overcome defeat, taste victory and stay active for life, www.specialolympics-ny.org.