Team Y Ride Reins in the Ribbons

YMCA of Greater Springfield

June 4, 2010

Contact: Elyse Dunbar, Team Y Ride Program Manager (, 413/626-8974)

Team Y Ride Reins in the Ribbons

SPRINGFIELD, MA and SOMERS, CT– Team Y Ride members successfully competed in their first horse show on Sunday, May 2nd.  Six students competed in a variety of hunt seat divisions at Shallowbrook Equestrian Center’s Spring Student Horse Show.

Shallowbrook Equestrian Center of Somers, CT and the Greater Springfield YMCA began the program in November of 2009.  The purpose of the Team Y Ride program is to provide underserved youth and teens with the opportunity to develop personal growth of spirit, mind and body through exposure to the structure of horseback riding and equine care.

“The program has evolved beyond my expectations.  The passion and expertise Shallowbrook brings to Team Y Ride is inspiring and is the product of the program’s success.”  -Julie Costello, Executive Director of the Greater Springfield YMCA

Team Y Ride incorporates the YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility into the equine experience. The program now includes thirteen students from the local community and hopes to continue to expand.  Students must commit to a minimum of one seven week session where they learn hunt seat and polo riding skills as well as horse care from the Shallowbrook instructors and Team Y Ride volunteers.  Team Y Ride members are individuals who are passionate about animals and are eager to learn the sport of horseback riding.

When asked about his favorite moment of volunteering, 17-year old Patrick Marinelli states, “seeing the kids realize they can do something if they put their mind to it.”

Along with the amazing accomplishments in the ring, Torriah Cruz recently spoke about her Team Y Ride experience to over 900 people at the YMCA of Greater Springfield’s Annual Campaign Breakfast in April.

“We have exciting plans for the future of this program.  With the help of Shallowbrook we evaluate the program’s successes and opportunities after each session, the possibilities for this program and the benefits received by the students remain limitless.” -Julie Costello, Executive Director of the Grater Springfield YMCA

The members of Team Y Ride will run a raffle table benefitting the program at Shallowbrook Equestrian Center’s June Charity Horse Show on Friday, June 11th through Sunday, June 13th. The horse show that hosts over three-hundred competitive riders lasts all day and is free to the public to attend.

Team Y Ride is fully funded through private and corporate donations.  The YMCA of Greater Springfield is now actively requesting tax-deductible donations and volunteers.  Donors and volunteers are asked to contact Julie Costello, Executive Director of the Greater Springfield YMCA at 413/739-6951, extension 181 for further information.


Photo: Team Y Ride (back, left to right), Sally Allison, Torriah Cruz, Richard Santiago, Elyse Dunbar (front, left to right) Julie Costello, Darius Caceres, James Heard

Additional pictures and interviews available upon request.

Shallowbrook Equestrian Center, Inc

Located in Somers, CT, Shallowbrook has been family-owned and operated since 1962.  Shallowbrook offers beginner to advanced hunt seat and polo lessons to ages 3+, birthday parties, boarding, and property rental.  Shallowbrook’s mission is to provide a riding experience on the foundation of a school-focused environment for the casual enthusiast to competitive equestrian.  Shallowbrook believes in a full approach to riding, teaching students not only the theory and discipline of riding but the importance of horse care and personal growth.  (, 860/749-0749)

YMCA of Greater Springfield

The YMCA of Greater Springfield has been working with young people since it began in 1852.   Our programs are designed to meet the needs of a changing society, but always focused on the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.  We currently serve more than 850 young people in 16 after-school program sites and another 200 young people visit one of our three “free” youth and teen drop-in centers located in Springfield and West Springfield.  Key components of these programs focus on academic achievement, arts & culture, health and wellness, and community service.  Enrichment programs such as Leaders Club, Youth and Government, Y-Speed, and Teatro Veda are just a few examples of what sets the YMCA apart from other organizations providing services to youth.

YMCA of Greater Springfield Mission Statement

To serve human needs in greater Springfield by providing quality programs that promote lifelong personal growth and the balanced development of spirit, mind, and body for all.

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