Helping Hands on Horseback
Helping Hands on Horseback

Pegasus Nominees Win PATH Intl. Awards

August 8, 2016

Pegasus is thrilled to share that three of our 2016 nominees have won regional PATH Intl. awards in recognition of their many contributions to Pegasus and the Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) industry.

Pegasus Board President Sue McGraw (l.) won the 2016 PATH Intl. Region 1 Volunteer of the Year award.

Head Instructor Liz Fortes (r.) won the 2016 PATH Intl. Region 1 Certified Professional of the Year award. 

Therapeutic pony Mr. Blue (c.) won the PATH Intl. Region 1 Equine of the Year award. 

More about Sue:

Sue has been a Pegasus volunteer since the founding of our organization in 1975. She began as a program volunteer, and over the years she also assumed a leadership role as a board member and board president. More than four decades later, Sue is still a program volunteer directly carrying out our mission with participants. Here are some quotes from her nominators:

“Imagine a volunteer you can trust with all aspects of your center’s program activities – participants, families, volunteers, horses – whatever. Could that person possibly exist? Yes – she is our 2016 outstanding volunteer nominee who has devoted 42 years to our center and EAAT!”

“She has the understanding and the ability to facilitate the right challenge for the rider. She works arduously to train her horses to deliver the different grades of movement needed to provide those challenges. Her quiet nature and awareness help to bond our horses and volunteers, creating strong teams and success for riders."

“Our organization’s longevity and thousands of lives that have been positively changed is a testament to her leadership, passion for our mission and authentic caring for all involved!”

More about Liz:

Liz started her partnership with Pegasus as a volunteer, and it made such an impact on her that she became an instructor. Now our Head Instructor at the PATH Advanced Level, she mentors others to follow in her footsteps. Here are some quotes from her nominators:

"This PATH professional is knowledgeable, dedicated, empathetic and hard-working, and she shares generously of her talents with all of the participants and equines at our center."

"This instructor nominee has been an extraordinary teacher, trainer, mentor and friend. In addition to her outstanding professional skills and horsemanship, she has a gift that truly sets her apart to riders, families, trainees and horses – a gift of heart."

"This instructor had the insight and confidence to allow a rider greater independence. This instructor approached the rider with the proper amount of encouragement and firmness. The smiles of this rider are the proof of the success."

"I have witnessed this professional use tremendous creativity in bringing out the best in each participant when working with a varied group. She excels at crossing the boundaries of fear, despair and doubt, and guides her students to joy."

More about Mr. Blue:

Mr. Blue (a.k.a. Once in a Blue Moon) is steadfast, loyal, kind, gentle, forgiving and unflappable. In short, he's Mr. Perfect, and we are so lucky he's at Pegasus. Here are some quotes from his nominators:

"When this horse arrived at our center, we could not foresee the many children that would eventually learn to trust, laugh, believe in themselves, and even learn to speak on the back of this willing and gentle horse over his 6 years here. This horse is my 'go-to' as teacher, mentor and reliable friend."

"This pony has enriched the lives of many participants over the six years he has been with us. He is tolerant and patient in every situation. I remember specifically a participant whose dream it was to canter. This was not an achievable goal until this pony came along! I watched in awe as this pony on lead picked up a quiet, slow canter, rhythmic and balanced. I don’t think I will ever forget this moment or the look of absolute joy on this child’s face! It was one long side of the ring - a short distance - and yet I believe a memory that will last the rider’s lifetime."

"I watched as a small group of boys at risk entered the ring with their instructor. The lesson goal was to have a horse follow participants through a simple obstacle course without a halter, lead rope or treats. As one boy walked over to this pony, he tried to gently push his head, then neck, then shoulders to get him to move. The pony stood firm. The boy walked a short distance calling the pony. He didn’t move. After several minutes, the boy walked back to the pony speaking softly to him, stroking his neck and shoulder. After a while, the boy walked a few steps away, still speaking to this pony. A few steps more, the pony began to follow him, eventually through the complete obstacle course. That day, this pony taught that child at risk how kindness, patience and perseverance can build trust and create bonds. This is but one instance of the beauty and value of this pony. He did for that student what he has done for hundreds of students in thousands of instances, in both unmounted and mounted programs during his six years at our center."

Congratulations, Sue, Liz and Mr. Blue! Thank you for everything!


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