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Special Olympics riders shine at state competition
Michael Kristy Bonnie
Bonnie Rachel Gentry and her riding pupils, Kristy Tilton and Michael Holton, show off their medals and ribbons from the state Special Olympics. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

Michael Holton and Kristy Tilton came home winners from the Special Olympics Georgia games in Perry last weekend and their instructor, Bonnie Rachel Gentry couldn’t be any prouder.

“We came home collectively with two gold medals, two silver medals, one bronze medal, a fourth-place ribbon and a fifth-place ribbon,” she said of the two.

Tilton brought home a bronze medal in showmanship-beginner 1 (adaptive), a gold medal in Western horsemanship-beginner 1 and a Gold medal in trail-beginner 1. Holton came home with a silver medal in showmanship-advanced, a silver medal in English equitation intermediate IV, a fourth place in the drill team event, and a fifth place in trail-intermediate IV.

Gentry operates the Faith Equestrian Center and has, for the past few years, been coaching riders and training them for the Special Olympics games. Tilton, 24, and Holton, 15, were riding mother and son horses named Misty and Slick. While this was not the first time for Holton to ride in the equestrian events, Tilton had been competing in weightlifting, so the riding was a new experience for her.

Holton’s mother put a video on YouTube showing him in two of his classes riding Slick.

Gentry said they will be at Tractor Supply on Nov. 28 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. raising money with a Boston butt sale. The fundraiser is for their Horses for Heroes program, a program for soldiers returning home from overseas deployments with disabilities and their families. Gentry said they will have a couple of the therapeutic horses there for a meet and greet with the kids.