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Because of Horses

Aug 3, 2018

This year, Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968 and continues to provide year-round training and competitive events to five million athletes in 172 countries. Competitions are held every day, all around the world, including local, national, and regional competitions, adding up to more than 100,000 events each year.


Helping to quantify what Special Olympics means to athletes, their families, and volunteers all over the world are Elise's guests: Area 10 Program Director, Alex Hubbard; Stacey Johnson, a Special Olympics gold and bronze medalist, as well as the President of the Athlete Leadership Program, a member of the Special Olympics Torch Run Officers, and a Global Messenger; and Martha Johnson, Stacey’s mom, who is also the Director of Finance at Equest Therapeutic Riding Center in Dallas, Texas.


In this episode, Alex describes his joy to be part of Special Olympics; what the community  means to the athletes, volunteers, and their friends and families; and the critical initiatives, above and beyond competition, that help an otherwise under-served segment of the world's population. Martha speaks about the importance of the Special Olympics to her and her daughter, and the miracles she has witnessed from therapeutic riding. Stacey talks about being an Olympian and winning gold and bronze medals for her country on the world stage; why she loves horses and competing; and what it means to share with others the incredible joy that is the Special Olympics.


Topics of Discussion:

[:45] About Elise’s guests today.

[1:57] Alex quantifies what the Special Olympics means to the people’s lives it touches.

[3:55] Alex describes his joy to be part of such this international movement.

[5:48] Martha describes the importance of the Special Olympics to her daughter, Stacey.

[8:13] Stacey talks about her love for horses and how riding has helped her.

[8:55] About Stacey’s accomplishments and the miracles Martha has witnessed through riding.

[14:50] More of the amazing benefits Stacey has gained from the Special Olympics.

[16:33] The other sports in which Stacey competes.

[18:38] About the trip Stacey and Martha are currently on as they record this episode!

[19:05] How much therapeutic riding has helped Stacey and about all their travels to various shows.

[20:57] The happy-tears phone call Martha received from Equest, sharing news of Stacey’s first jump after recovering from surgery!

[25:17] It's much more than "just" competition – Alex talks about Special Olympics initiatives making a huge impact on world health.

[31:04] Elise reads listener feedback!

[32:19] Which issues affecting Special Olympics' community does Alex feel need to be addressed most urgently?

[35:20] How those who work for the Special Olympics help carry and spread their message.

[36:35] Martha outlines ways people can support and encourage athletes.

[38:55] News about the 2019 Special Olympics and what it means to Martha, Stacey, and Alex to know that millions of people are cheering the athletes on.

[42:00] About Stacey’s win in Dublin, Ireland.

[45:24] A touching story that happened with another Equest client.

[46:33] Where to learn more about the Special Olympics and Equest.


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Mentioned in this Episode:

Special Olympics Texas

Special Olympics

Equest (#: 972-412-1099)

Because of Horses Episode 12 with Equest Founder, CEO, and Hooves for Heroes Director

Because of Horses Episode 7 with Rupert Isaacson of The Horse Boy Foundation

Hooves for Heroes

The Horse Boy Foundation

Healthy Athletes

Global Messengers

Unified Champion Schools

Eunice Kennedy Shriver (Founder of the Special Olympics)

Tim Shriver (Chairman of the Special Olympics)

Arthur Ashe Courage Award



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