Helping Hands and Hooves team medals at Special Olympics
Mattapoisett — Helping Hands and Hooves students took home a number of medals on Sept. 25 at the Special Olympics Massachusetts’ South Shore Equestrian Show.
Julie Craig and Debbi Dyson run the Mattapoisett-based nonprofit that specializes in therapeutic horseback riding for adults with special needs. This year was the 10th they have taken their students to the Special Olympics, held at Briggs Stable in Hannover.
“It’s stiff competition and the competitors take it really seriously,” said Craig. “It’s what competition should be: It’s real but it’s healthy.”
This year, the Helping Hands team was prominent with student Renee Deloid carrying the torch in the opening ceremony.
She also won two golds.
Brendan Goss, Dyson’s brother, won a gold and a silver medal.
He said he started riding after seeing his niece take lessons, and he has participated in the Special Olympics every year with Helping Hand and Hooves.
“I would like to say that I really enjoyed the Special Olympics,” said Goss. He added, “It was pretty hard this year.”
Susan Dempsey, a student in her mid-60s, was one of the eldest athletes in the event, and while she enjoys the competition, for her, “It’s about the whole day. It’s a day for them, and they don’t get that,” said Craig.
Lori Kassabian, a Helping Hands volunteer, experienced the event for the first time this year, and she echoed Craig’s sentiment.
“I loved how encouraging all the athletes are for each other. Everybody’s rooting for everybody else.”
Here’s how the Helping Hands team did:
Ian Craig: silver and bronze
Renee DeLoid: 2 golds
Susan Dempsey: silver and bronze
Brendan Goss: gold and silver
Alexandra Mendoza: 2 golds
Andrea Raposa: 2 silvers
Ruby Shield: 2 golds