Orinda’s therapeutic riding center Xenophon, a center for special needs children, held its annual horse show on June 2. The event showcased the students’ riding abilities and new found confidence. Friends and family members came to enjoy the performances by several students; however, the day also celebrated the retirement of a much-loved therapy horse named Cocoa.
Cocoa has been working at the center since 2001 and has served her students well with gentle patience. In 2008, Cocoa was honored by the national governing body of therapeutic riding, PATH International. Chosen as the therapy horse of the year, Cocoa truly deserves the honor. Executive Director Mari Parino states, “Cocoa has been suffering from severe arthritis and is finding it harder and harder to get around. We have had to cut back significantly on her work load, even though she thinks she should still be working. This will very likely be Cocoa’s last show, so we thought it fitting that we should honor her today.” Friends in attendance had many accolades for Cocoa. “Congratulations Cocoa on this well-deserved recognition and honor,” said one. “Thank you for all that you have done for our kids. You are much loved,” added another.