Special Olympics World Games Equestrian Competition
Ride On had the honor of being selected to manage the Equestrian Competition at the LA2015 World Games. The equestrian portion of the games saw 123 athletes from 35 countries competing in four disciplines: equitation, trail, dressage and a team relay. The World Games Organizing Committee selected Ride On in part because we’ve been running horse-shows for riders with disabilities at the LAEC for 18 years, partly because we put 200 individuals with disabilities on horseback each week, and partly because Ride On’s founders have experience with the unique challenges of this type of international, borrowed horse, competition.
The two biggest challenges of the show were finding 85 safe, appropriate horses and building the team that could mount a world-class competition.
Ride On’s senior horse staff spent over six months talking with the equestrian community from San Francisco, to Phoenix, to San Diego to identify, test and finally transport 90+ horses to the LA Equestrian Center in Burbank. Getting the right group of horses on-site was the single biggest challenge for us. Ultimately, Ride On provided 23 of its school horses and over 50 owners and farms provided the remainder of the herd. The horses were exceptional.
As hard as finding the right horses was, we also had to build a high-performing team capable of caring for our equines, exercising them, preparing them for a show and ensuring the safety of all our operations. We brought together 125 experienced horse owners and lovers who over a 10 day period dedicated over 10,000 volunteer hours to those tasks! As important, they were friendly, welcoming and had fun during some long, hot days!
The results were showcased the morning the athletes first arrived on site when they were greeted with a cavalcade of 40 horses in pairs performing drill maneuvers in the Equidome. To see 20 pairs of horses ridden in front of a cheering crowd to music was an amazing testament to the caliber of the horses and people who helped us mount an amazing show.
Below are many photos arranged by date to give you a sense of just how inspiring and fun the World Games Equestrian competition were. All photos below are the work of Matthew L. Gibb who has documented our CALNET Shows for years.
As with all things at Ride On, we could not have done this without a universe of support. So many wonderful volunteers, horse owners and sponsors joined to make this memorable for the athletes and all those involved. Thank you to all!
If you would like more information about the World Games, please email: