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Local pair headed to Special Olympics Equestrian Championship this weekend

When city resident Matt Wildermuth gets onto his horse “Rocky” at the Discovery Riders near Zanesfield, he has no qualms about what to do.

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ABOVE: Matt Wildermuth rides “Rocky” Wednesday afternoon with the help of instructor Kriss Schmerge through a barrels course set up at Discovery Riders, 5850 S. State Route 292, Zanesfield. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Leslye Houk, center, performs barrel work Wednesday at Discovery Riders, 5850 S. State Route 292, Zanesfield, to practice her balance for horseback riding. Pictured with her are Barb Kent, left, and Kriss Schmerge. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)

He sits upright in his saddle holding the reins with a beaming smile on his face. With a few gentle, but firm, commands, he guides the animal around the ring.

“I like riding. It makes me feel great,” the 29-year-old said Wednesday afternoon during a training session.

After several years of training at the therapeutic riding center, Mr. Wildermuth and his neighbor, Mitch Gates, both are headed to the Special Olympics of Ohio’s Equestrian Championship in Cincinnati this weekend. They are the first two Logan County residents to be involved in the event, said Rose Canter, Logan County Special Olympics coordinator.

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