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Riders with autism and cerebral palsy competed in 27th annual Pikes Peak Special Rodeo

A dozen riders with special needs raced through barrels and poles
Posted at 3:41 PM, Jun 15, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — The 27th annual Pikes Peak Special Rodeo kicked off Saturday. Two therapeutic riding centers competed at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Museum.

A dozen riders with special needs raced through barrels and poles.

The event raised about $8,500 for the riding centers, up 70% from last year said chairman, Richard Janitell.

"Until they probably plant me, I’ll still help ‘em out here, because it is a real reward just to see that smile on those kids’ faces," said Janitell.

That money goes to the Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center and StableStrides, which helps kids like 16-year-old McKenzie Morrison, who has autism and ADHD.

Morrison said riding horses gives her a sense of freedom.

"Horse riding can help see how society sees normally, and you can too can process that way," said Morrison.

But her favorite event of the rodeo— goat tying.

"Snatching a flag off a goat’s tail," said Morrison.

These competitors train for the special rodeo for a whole year.

"For people to come, watch them is just life-changing for us and for them," said a Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center instructor, Jamie Harrison.

For one competitor, riding horses helps her mobility and confidence, "because of the freedom, I’ve had cerebral palsy all my life and I’m thinkin’ oh, there’s no sport for anyone with CB."

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