Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 3, 2013

Saddling up for Barbara

Memorial horse show delivers a special tribute

The second annual Barbara DeNitto Memorial Horse Show brought 35 riders to Ironstone Farm on Lowell Street on Sunday, Sept. 29.

The competition for equestrians with special needs is named after the late Barbara DeNitto of North Andover who, along with Ironstone’s executive director, Deedee O’Brien, brought Special Olympics equestrian sports to Massachusetts in the 1980s.

Ironstone Farm is in the Special Olympics Hall of Fame, and DeNitto was honored with the Special Olympics’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

During the opening ceremony on Sunday, one of DeNitto’s former riding students, Meredith Leonard of Tewksbury, was surprised with the Barbara DeNitto Good Sportsmanship Award given for “courage, integrity and character.” It honors DeNitto, who died in 2010 after battling cancer.

Leonard wiped away tears after she was presented with the award by DeNitto’s husband, Nick. Later, she took first place in both competitions for her division.

Ironstone Farm’s staff say they intend to continue the memorial horse show annually for DeNitto as “a tribute to a special teacher, a friend to all her students and a mentor who we will honor for many years to come.”

The farm at 450 Lowell St. provides traditional therapies using horses as well as recreational riding programs. For more, visit

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