Algarve riders shine in Lisbon Olympics

After selection by their respective schools, 16 riders represented the Algarve competing in Lisbon on June 2 for the Championship in Special Olympics Equestrian for riders with learning difficulties.

More than 70 riders from throughout Portugal congregated at the Sociedade Hipíca in Campo Grande for a fun but challenging day. Well-trained horses were supplied by the GNR, complete with an officer in charge of each horse, for the trainers to select the most suitable ride for their pupils.

Four trainers from Algarve riding schools – QPA, Loulé Riding Club, Vilamoura Equestrian School and Pinetrees – coached their special needs riders through the obstacle course which was judged very fairly by Francisco Campião. Classes were for tests in walk, walk and trot, and also walk, trot and canter tests.

Volunteers from the RDA groups Barlavento and AEDA were out in force to support their riders, who are financed by these associations in their equitation.

Every participating rider received a medal but the top scores in each class gained the prestigious Gold, Silver or Bronze medal.

The Algarve team brought back a total of 11 of these awards, with the medals distributed between the schools NECI, Existir, APPC and AAPACDM.

The highest score for an Algarve rider was of 161 points for Almancil rider Irina Rodrigues (pictured), representing APPC Faro.