Partners for Progress equestrian teams show ability to win

  • Rhiannon Huffman of Antioch shows off her winning medals from the Congress Horse Show.

    Rhiannon Huffman of Antioch shows off her winning medals from the Congress Horse Show. Courtesy of Partners For Progress, NFP

Submitted by Donna Berg Jones
Updated 12/2/2019 2:00 PM

Partners for Progress NFP is proud to announce that once again their riders brought home titles.

What is most exceptional is that all the riders that make up the PFP Traveling Show Team are young adults with disabilities; some cognitive, some physical, some both.


During October, the PFP National Traveling Show Team competed at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, which offers Equestrians with Disability Classes through the American Quarter Horse Association and the National Snaffle Bit Association organizations in Ohio.

The All American Quarter Horse Congress is the world's largest single-breed horse show, with more than 23,000 participant riders. The show attracts more than 600,000 attendees to the Columbus, Ohio, area.

For the PFP riders, competing brings levels of challenge and achievement that cannot be matched. The riders must utilize skills many people take for granted, like executive functioning, team building, social interaction, independence, motor skills, and patience.

These skills are improved not only through competing, but through the weeklong travel as well. An added benefit is the friendships that are forged at these shows that many of the riders have never experienced in everyday life.

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Six riders competed from PFP over a week.

"When the first Equestrians with Disability Classes were offered around 2008, there were at most five to six riders with disabilities competing from a few states. Now, there are as many as 30 riders in some classes from all over the United States. For PFP to take home grand champion wins, as well as so many other wins is quite an accomplishment," said Diane Helgeland, executive director at Partners for Progress.

Team PFP came home with three Grand Champion Congress wins, two Reserve Champion Congress wins, one third-place win, three fifth-place wins, one sixth-place win, three seventh-place wins, three eighth-place wins, one 10th-place win, one 11th-place win, three 12th-place wins, two 13th-place wins, and one 14th-place win among both Independent and Supported Riders.

The Congress show is also judged through the National Snaffle Bit Association.

Team PFP earned two first-place NSBA wins, four second-place NSBA wins, two third-place NSBA wins, one fourth-place win, five fifth-place wins, three sixth-place wins, four seventh-place wins, one eighth-place win, one ninth-place win, and one 11th-place win.

These wins were in both the Independent and Supported Riders categories.

Partners for Progress is a therapeutic riding stable in Wauconda. Through their goal-based therapy, they help children as young as 3 months old to seniors 80 years old. The therapy they offer is customized to each individual based on their specific needs and goals.

"We could not be more grateful to our fans, donors, sponsors, competitors and volunteers for their support throughout the show season and throughout the year," Helgeland said.

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