Bus company donates rides to Winslow

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:23

Warwick — Nicholas Grogan was one of 24 lucky students from Orange AHRC’s Preschool Learning Experience program to attend Winslow Therapeutic Riding Academy in Warwick recently. In just four sessions, this four-year-old youngster who, like many of his classmates, has developmental delays, went from being quiet and shy to heading a parade of horses around the arena, smiling hugely and chatting away. Preschool Learning Experience school nurse Joyce DeGhetto and assistant site supervisor Corinne Varnavides applied to be recipients of a Winslow grant specifying that special needs children be the target audience for the horseback riding scholarships. “But we couldn’t have accepted the free tuition without Acme Bus Company Vice President Ed Lynch and terminal manager Charles Mazzei generously donating the transportation for the 30 mile round trips from the Middletown campus to the Warwick countryside,” said Varnavides. Every week the kids poured off the bus and into the arena building where they made portable paddocks to take home, painted T-shirts with equine themes, and learned about grooming and riding horses. “Duke is putting his clothes on!” exclaimed Kyla Egan, as a Winslow volunteer put a blanket and saddle on the horse. “Those fences are to keep them from running away,” she told her teacher Tracy Feil. Hannah Lee’s horse was named Betty, but early on Hannah explained to everyone that she was to be known as Princess Betty, and she, Hannah, was to be Cowgirl Hannah. During his group’s last week, riding instructor Martha Underwood asked Nicholas to ride at the front of the class. He looked at her, took a big gulp, and asked incredulously, “You want me to be line leader?” She nodded yes. Nicholas smiled and told his horse, “Walk on.” And away they went.