November 3, 2023

Riding To The Top reaches 30-year milestone of serving community

Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center in Windham is excited to now be in its 30th year of serving the community.

Debbie Hutchinson, a Riding To The Top rider, joins
Paxton, a member of the RTT herd, and Janis Childs,
a RTT volunteer and board member, at the Triple B
event in Windham on Oct. 14.
Its work began in 1993 in Gorham before moving to Scarborough and then Falmouth, before settling on a 50-acre farm in Windham. For the past three decades, its therapeutic riding services have been carried out on the backs of 60-plus horses and in the hearts and hands of hundreds of volunteers and staff, impacting thousands of lives with their equine-assisted services.

Over the years, RTT has had many moments of celebration, and its 30th anniversary brought several more. In 2023, one of RTT’s riding teams was honored with three different awards. Debbie Hutchinson, a RTT rider, was named the 2023 Adult Equestrian of the Year by PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) and Debbie’s riding partner and beloved member of the RTT herd, Paxton, was inducted into the EQUUS Foundation’s Horse Stars Hall of Fame. In addition, Janis Childs, a dedicated RTT volunteer who works as part of Debbie’s team, received a Daily Point of Light Award by Points of Light, a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world.

“Debbie, Paxton and Janis are truly an amazing team and we are so honored that they received not one, not two, but three international awards this year. As a team, they are truly deserving of this recognition,” said Sarah Bronson, RTT’s executive director. “RTT has been serving our community for 30 years, and it’s thanks to the commitment of our volunteers, the courage of our clients, the steadfastness of our horses, the dedication of our staff and the generosity of our donors, that we are able to serve hundreds of clients annually. We are truly grateful to everyone who has played a role at RTT since our start in 1993.”

On Saturday, Oct. 14, Riding To The Top also celebrated its 15th Annual Triple B ~ Boots, Band & BBQ. This annual event serves as the organization’s largest fundraiser every year, raising vital funds to support rider scholarships and herd care through lively mission-based auctions led by Elizabeth Holmstrom.

This year, the Triple B event was emceed by Michelle Taylor from 99.9 The Wolf, and mouthwatering barbecue was provided by Schilly’s Catering Services. Following dinner, the evening’s program was kicked off by a moving and heartwarming tribute to the work done at RTT by Lauren McMillan, the parent of four children, three of whom have benefitted from RTT’s services.

Following an auction, participants danced to music by local band, Under The Covers and Miss Maine 2023 Veronica Druchniak, led a full dance floor in some line dancing instruction.

Bronson said that thanks to the generosity of both individual donors and corporate sponsors, this year’s Triple B raised more than $200,000 in support of RTT’s riders, horses and programs.

She said that Riding To The Top is immensely grateful for the years of trust the community has placed in them, and is riding into this new decade with excitement and hope.

To find out more about RTT’s work, please visit <

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