Adison Tompkins, a 4-year-old girl from Palm Beach, Florida who was the recent subject of a March 5th article on LadyAndTheTrack.com about the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, visited the horse Vinceremos along with trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano at Pletcher’s barn at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Florida last Sunday.
Vinceremos, a 3-year-old colt and Kentucky Derby contender named after the charity, will try to take a final step towards next month’s Kentucky Derby when he lines up in the $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on April 12th at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Kentucky.
Adison was named as the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center’s ‘Rider of the Year’ in 2013. But before that, Adison was born with an undiagnosed genetics syndrome that slowed her ability to learn how to walk. Her mother Aimee started her at the riding center prior to Adison’s second birthday, and almost two months to the day after getting on a horse for the first time, Adison took her first two unassisted steps.
Now over two years into the program, she was able to walk with Pletcher and Castellano, as well as meet a promising Thoroughbred that is racing in part for her cause.
“We had a great visit, so much more than we expected. Vinceremos (the horse) was so much more than we expected,” said Susan Guinan , Director of Development at the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center. “When Adison went in his stall, he dropped his head down to her. He just seemed to know. She put her hands up to him and he was so gentle and sweet. You would never have thought that under that soft heart was a bundle of fire and energy.
“Therapeutic riding really makes a difference in so many lives, and we’re so thankful for the opportunity to bring Adison out to meet Vinceremos. Everybody was so kind and welcoming to us. Javier gave Adison an autographed photo of all the jockeys, and Todd took time out of his very busy and exciting schedule to visit with us. It was spectacular,” she added.
WinStar Farm and Twin Creeks Racing, owners of the horse Vinceremos, pledged to donate a portion of the colt’s earnings from every race through the 2014 Triple Crown to the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center following a breakthrough win by the colt in the Feb. 1st Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida. Vinceremos would go on to turn in a good second-place performance in the March 8th Tampa Bay Derby in his next start at that racetrack, and he’ll race in the prestigious Blue Grass while looking to punch his ticket to the May 3rd Kentucky Derby – and raise money and awareness for the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.
“When we learned about Adison and her wonderful story with the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, we had to get her out to the stables to meet our Vinceremos,” said WinStar President & CEO Elliott Walden, who learned about the charity through his son, Mac Walden, who volunteered at the riding center. “It was incredible to see Vinceremos, who can be fiery and excitable, drop his head into Addy's face. He knew it was a child. When Winston Churchill said: ‘There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man’, this is what he meant. I hope Adison and Vinceremos can meet again down the road, and, who knows, maybe (Vinceremos) will carry the title of ‘classic winner’ the next time they do meet.”
Vinceremos the horse – a son from the first crop of WinStar stallion Pioneerof the Nile – has two wins and two seconds from four starts to date, with earnings of $223,600.
The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center is a non-profit organization in Loxahatchee, FL that serves children and adults with developmental, physical, cognitive, psychological, and emotional disabilities in Palm Beach County through unique equine partnerships. Vinceremos coordinates its horse-related services through physician & therapist referrals, group homes, school programs and individual enrollment. Its staff includes Therapeutic Riding instructors, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists. For more information or to donate to the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center, visit Vinceremos.org on the web.
The article on LadyAndTheTrack.com about Adison’s journey through the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center can be read here: http://www.ladyandthetrack.com/news/6890/vinceremos-tampa-bay-derby.html
Watch Adison’s story here: http://vimeo.com/78343626