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RTT Rider Debbie Hutchinson Named PATH Intl. 2023 Adult Equestrian of the Year

Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center (RTT) is thrilled to announce that Debbie Hutchinson has been named the 2023 Adult Equestrian of the Year by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). Debbie has ridden at RTT for the past 3 years partnered with RTT’s mare, Paxton. Debbie has had MS for over 30 years and she struggles with balance and spasticity that impacts her walking, but as Debbie says “when I’m riding Paxton, I don’t have MS.” Not only has riding helped her physically, it has also given Debbie a new support network through the staff and volunteers at RTT.

As RTT Program Director, Kate Jeton puts it, “From her first entry to our center, Debbie's grit and determination were as obvious as her wide smile. She has formed an amazing bond with her horse and without assistance is able to walk and trot, modulating rhythm and pace and creating bend in her horse’s body, in spite of not being able to effectively use her right leg. Her feel for her horse is obvious and her elation is infectious."

“As an international voice in the equine-assisted services (EAS) industry, PATH Intl. has a responsibility to recognize individuals and equines that symbolize our celebration of ability, optimism, diversity, and a shared love of equines,” Alyson Thrasher, PATH’s Membership and Education Representative, wrote. “Exceptional equestrians who join in the excitement offered by EAS are a testament to the power of the horse to change lives. Debbie Hutchinson is an outstanding representative of the PATH Intl. adult equestrian community.”

Debbie’s riding team is in full agreement with PATH Intl.’s decision. "I’ve had the pleasure of working with Debbie for several years. She performs her pre-ride warm up with tenacity, enthusiasm, and determination to assure a successful lesson. She deals with the stress of her condition daily, but when she is sitting high on her horse, her focus is on establishing a close connection with her horse, achieving horsemanship skills, and the pure joy of riding. Her constant smile says it all," team member Susan Layton says.

To learn more about Debbie’s journey, visit Riding To The Top’s YouTube page at to see Debbie and team member, Janis Childs, give the keynote speeches at the 2022 Triple B.

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Congratulations Deborah ! You're such an inspiration !

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