HorseAbility Honors Jericho
By MARIA GRAFAS
The students of Jericho Schools were top honorees at HorseAbility’s annual gala. Emma Distler, a constant volunteer at HorseAbility, said, “HorseAbility is a volunteer organization which offers therapeutic riding, and works with children with special needs.” She then explained to us what happens at HorseAbility, “We let them ride a horse, but we’re there on the side. We’re called side walkers because we stand on the side to make sure they’re steady. We also have leaders who lead the horses because we want the kids to know that they are able to steer and everything, but we have leaders just in case.”
Emma found out about HorseAbility through one of the school curriculum boards when she was in 10th grade and continues to volunteer at the facility every weekend. When Distler was asked why she got involved, she said, “I really love horses, and I love working with people, so when they told me it involved both, I said, ‘That’s it. It’s a done deal.’”
When asked about the gala, Emma explained, “The HorseAbility Gala was just this November and honored Jericho students, Jericho School District. Luckily, I got to represent Jericho students and gave a little speech. It was just beautiful. Beautiful is the best way I can describe it.”Distler was also individually presented with the Presidential Call to Service Award at the Silver Level because she had volunteered at HorseAbility between 175-249 hours in 2014.
Jericho High School librarian and longtime suporter of HorseAbility Ms. Ryder also told us about her experience at the gala. “It was really fun. It was a really nice award. The students of Jericho had done a lot for HorseAbility – Kids Helping Pets donated a saddle, and the 8th grade Peer Leadership Club did Cupcake Wars and donated a lot of money.” Ms. Ryder has been a part of HorseAbility since it first opened about 22 years ago. She has since been the President of the Board of Directors and is currently the Secretary of the Board of Directors. She manages both the program for the gala and the HorseAbility website. She also owns one of the horses who does therapeutic work at HorseAbility. Jericho High School has always had a close relationship with HorseAbility and appreciates this major honor.