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Special Olympics Florida: Athletes compete in equestrian competition as the games take off

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Special Olympics Florida athletes got a chance to put their skills to the test for an equestrian competition in Jacksonville. This event was one of the first to kick off the Special Olympics Florida summer games.

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Victoria Bilyk-Seguine is one of 36 athletes who competed in the Special Olympics Florida area 4 equestrian competition.

She set two goals for herself: “Just have fun and win,” said Bilyk-Seguine.

On Sunday, athletes participated in events such as equitation, working rail, pole bending and barrel racing.

Action News Jax spoke with several athletes ahead of the competition and they all have different riding experience.

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“I’m a little nervous, but I am going to get myself energized and calm,” said Bonnie Luck.

Athlete Kristina Hess has been riding for 11 years.

“I love riding,” said Hess.

She said she hopes to showcase all that she’s learned.

Sunday’s competition was the first time since the pandemic that Special Olympics Florida was able to hold a competition at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

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Special Olympics Florida Coach Jennifer Yudow said the competition is a way for athletes to show what they’ve learned and watch their progress.

“I’m proud of all the hard work because we really, really push them to kind of come out of their comfort zone and kind of work toward achieving the next level,” said Yudow.

The winners of this area competition will qualify for the state equestrian competition.

Related read: For the first time since COVID-19, the Jacksonville Equestrian center is hosting Special Olympics

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