On May 20th, 2015, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy was presented with the Inglis Award for Continuing Excellence for outstanding work enhancing the quality of life for people with physical disabilities. Barbara Wertheimer, Executive Director, accepted the award on behalf of Pegasus and was joined by Pegasus families, Robin Shane & Cecily Shandell, Janine & Kevin Hesser as well as Aly and Paula Gibbons. Upon accepting the award, Barbara shared Pegasus’ history with the audience “33 years ago a dream took flight. Matching a child with physical disabilities with the power and elegance of a horse enabling the challenges of that child to fade away. This was the beginning of Pegasus and I am delighted to say that in the past three decades, we have come a long way. Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy, in Northeast Philadelphia, now works with 100 riders a week, year round – that’s over 4500 lessons annually!
Barbara was joined at the podium by Pegasus rider, Kevin Hesser. Kevin, who has cerebral palsy, started riding at Pegasus when he was a 3 years old. In the fall he will be a senior in high school and is looking forward to attending college the following year. Kevin shared his Pegasus story with the ACE awards audience, telling them “I am Kevin Hesser. I have been riding at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy for 13 years. Over the years, it has helped both my body and my mind. Pegasus has helped my body get looser and stronger. Because of riding, I now have better balance and my hips and legs are less tight. Even more, it has helped me with my confidence. During a competition, I get nervous, but then afterward, I feel really accomplished. Pegasus has shown me my true potential as a rider and a person. I am very grateful for the opportunity to ride there.”
Pegasus is proud to have won this award for the 3rd time in 2015 with recognition in 2006 and 2011. In hockey, we would call it a “hat trick”, but there’s nothing tricky about the efforts it has taken to bring our program to the level it is today. Thank you again to the Inglis Foundation for this recognition and to all our volunteers, staff, riders, horses and families at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy that help make our therapeutic riding program in Philadelphia outstanding and wonderful.
Several other Delaware Valley non-profits were in attendance and were able to celebrate alongside Pegasus. We were even able to share our accomplishment with the HMS school, (Pegasus participants as well) who were also receiving an ACE award.
Congratulations to Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy!