Kelby Barranco, a 16-year-old para-dressage rider who has volunteered at the Gold Coast Dressage Association for more than six years, has been named 2013 Youth Volunteer of the Year by the United States Dressage Federation.
The award will be presented to Barranco during the 2013 Adequan/USDF Annual Convention in Lexington, Ky. The GCDA is supporting Barranco in his goal to become a member of the United States ParaEquestrian Team.
“We could not be happier for Kelby and are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this dedicated horseman,” said Noreen O’Sullivan of the Gold Coast Dressage Association and the Wellington Classic Dressage Association.
The USDF Youth Volunteer Award is sponsored by the USDF Youth Programs Advisory Subcommittee and honors one outstanding youth volunteer who has contributed both nationally and locally to USDF and the sport of dressage. Barranco is a regular on the horse show circuit as a rider and volunteer. In 2013, he dedicated more than 750 hours of volunteer service at competitions including the Wellington Classic Dressage, Gold Coast Dressage and International Horse Sport shows.
Barranco has cerebral palsy. When he was born, his mother, Monica Barrano, was told that he may not ever communicate or even walk. She said horses changed their lives when someone suggested they try horse therapy. After six months of riding she saw dramatic changes. He has continued to grow and improve ever since.
Barranco was nominated for the Youth Volunteer of the Year award by Robyn Weston of Region 2. “Kelby makes a unique contribution to education, recognition of achievement, and the promotion of dressage,” Weston said. “He is a classified Para Level II rider and a wonderful ambassador for the para-dressage community and for the USDF.”
ABOVE: Kelby Barranco with GCDA President Noreen O’Sullivan.