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Local rider competes in World Olympics in LA

July 20, 2015
By BARBARA C. BARRETT , The Luminary

MONTGOMERY - Amanda Swazey is one very excited young lady. For she is one of ten riders selected to compete in the special world olympics to begin July 25th and held in Los Angeles, California until August 2nd. This is a world wide event and Amanda has been training for several months at SunnyBrook Meadows therapeutic riding center in Montgomery to help her prepare for the event that draws over 500,000 spectators among 27 summer sports.

The facility came highly recommended to Miss Swazey who lives with her parents in Selinsgrove. Although her home stable is in Kratzerville, Snyder County, Amanda has been practicing once a week at SunnyBrook because they have a variety of different horses and she won't be sure what type of horse she will be riding during the competition. "This way we will have her more prepared," said Rachel Snoddy, her trainer and riding instructor at SunnyBrook Meadows. "The more different, the better off she will be with some unknown horse in California. We were recommended as a great place to practice for the competition."

Swazey is an athlete with Northumberland Snyder Special Olympics where she competed for states and won a Gold Medal for the Special Olympics at Penn State last year. This qualified her for the world wide competition. She has done several shows and met the qualifying goals in trail riding that won her the states.

Article Photos

Amanda Swazey will be competing in Special Olympics this month in Los Angeles and has been practicing at SunnyBrook Meadows in Montgomery. Shown here she is 'posting' during a working trot where she will be judged on how she sits, poses, and rises with the horse. Ezra is one of her favorite horses at the therapeutic riding center.

Since the early 90's when she was ten years old, Amanda has been riding horses and now she is part of the National Equestrian team. At SunnyBrook Meadows therapeutic riding center she has been practicing some skills such as trotting, posting, balance and dressage. She practices different speeds on different horses of the same gait. "This has really helped her physical balance and strength," said Roy Swazey, her father. "She also does artistic roller skating," he proudly added.

During olympics, teams will be competing against each other close to their skill levels.

"Our whole family is going to Los Angeles. Our daughter and grandsons are driving from Idaho and our son is driving from San Diego," said Arden Miller, Amanda's mother. "This entire month has been a whirlwind of preparation," she added.

Meanwhile, the Special Olympics USA athletes met in Indianapolis last October with their coaches to prepare for the big event that will consist of more than 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches. Transportation is being arranged by the Department of Defense according to Amanda's father.

The Special Olympics happens every four years. "I have never done international before," said Amanda. "This is my first time ever."

Swazey will be staying at the University of California, Riverside campus. Saturday, July 25th is opening day and she will be with a team of 10.

Snoddy said she has been practicing faithfully every Wednesday at the riding center in Montgomery. "The horses here are very safe for Amanda to ride, and they are all different." Ezra is a steady horse for trotting, Barry is slower and bigger while Hallie is a short and younger horse to ride. "We tailor the rider to the horse," added Snoddy who lives in Allenwood and has been a trainer for several years at SunnyBrook Meadows. "The horses are very special here." There are 14 of them who live at the riding stable.

Amanda has been working on her trotting which is done in a pattern of 7 minute intervals and also posting which is a working trot on rising, sitting, and posing. She has also been taking trail classes, weaving and directing the horse through obstacles, backing up and weaving in and out of cones, and going over poles on the ground.

With just a few days left until the big event, Amanda said, "It's a great opportunity for me. I'm very excited. I am looking forward to meeting people from different countries." There will be 177 countries represented.

"SunnyBrook Meadows has been a tremendous help here," replied Roy Swazey.



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