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Gwinnett Residents Win Medals At The Special Olympics

Special Photo The Special Olympics riding team with the four-legged companions, volunteers and Dr. Marilyn Peterson Executive Director of Parkwood Farms Therapy Center and team coach for Gwinnett County. 

Special Photo The Special Olympics riding team with the four-legged companions, volunteers and Dr. Marilyn Peterson Executive Director of Parkwood Farms Therapy Center and team coach for Gwinnett County. 

SNELLVILLE -- The Special Olympics of Georgia's State Horse Show held at the State Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry was a tremendous success for Snellville's Parkwood Farms Therapy Center from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21. Six of its riders participated in the competition and walked away with numerous medals.

Lena Busbee, Brandon Cormack, Christopher McClintic-Doyle, Hunter Sorenson, Julian Stankee-Peterson and Linda Valdez joined others from around the state to battle in 20 different categories, including English Equitation and Trail events.

As a group, the riders won 20 awards. To name a few, there were four gold medals, 3 silver medals and 1 bronze.

"I won two gold medals, a bronze medal and a 6th place ribbon," rider Lena Busbee said. "I would of liked to do better than sixth place, but it was fun."

Many of the riders who competed in the event have been riding for several years and have won awards here before. Brandon Cormack rides at least once a week for thirty minutes and has been in the Special Olympics State Horse Show for the past five years.

This year, Cormack was bumped up to a new class of riders and learned difficult skills for the event.

"I'm so proud of him for winning a gold medal on the Trail event," Harriette Cormack, grandmother of Brandon said. "He has to learn all new things and his horse was irritated with the gnats and heat. He still won."

The riders will keep training for next year's Horse Show.

"Brandon has always loved this competition," Cormack said. "All the kids love competing at the Special Olympics."

Parkwood Farms Therapy is a facility "dedicated to enriching the lives of physically, emotionally, and mentally challenged children and adults" through therapeutic horse riding.