Gold medal Yukon horseback rider ‘sets whole new standard’ for city council meeting

Yukon girl presents impassioned flag salute, invocation

Savannah Leigh Smith, 8, prepares to give the invocation and flag salute during the July 6th Yukon City Council meeting inside the Centennial Building, 12 S 5th. Mayor Shelli Selby invited Savannah after watching the Yukon girl present the flag salute at the recent grand opening of Savannah Station’s new therapeutic horseback riding facility in north Yukon. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A medal-winning therapeutic horseback rider helped kick off the July 6th Yukon City Council meeting in spirited fashion.

Savannah Leigh Smith, 8, offered an impassioned invocation and flag salute inside the council chambers of the Centennial Building, 12 S 5th.

“She set a whole new standard for opening up our city council meetings,” Ward 3 City Council Member Donna Yanda said.

The Yukon girl, who has been riding at the Savannah Station Therapeutic Riding Center since age 7, won a gold medal aboard the horse Chocolate Sundae during the recent Oklahoma Special Olympics.

Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby invited Savannah to the city council meeting after hearing her present the flag salute several weeks ago at the grand opening of Savannah Station’s new facility in north Yukon.

“I was moved to tears by her passion,” Selby said. “So many times, we say the flag salute and we don’t even think about the words that we’re saying.”

Savannah Station’s therapeutic riding program moved to 13420 Frisco Road from its previous venue at the Redlands Community College Royse Ranch north of El Reno.

After the spirited Savannah presented her inspirational invocation and flag salute July 6, Yukon’s mayor presented her with a “Yukon’s Best” pin.

Selby shared her appreciation for Savannah’s enthusiasm and passion for both God and country.



Savannah Station’s mission is to “offer hope and healing to people with special needs through the amazing power of the horse.”

“It is amazing,” Mayor Selby said. “If you have not been there, you need to go. When you go, you’re going to sign up to volunteer because it is an amazing place.”

Therapeutic riding is much more than just giving a child a ride on a horse. It is a proven form of valuable therapy that produces physical, cognitive, social, and educational benefits.

Savannah Station’s new 20-acre Yukon property features a barn, buildings, pastures, offices, and classrooms.

The program’s executive director is Andi Holland. For more information, call (580) 278-6657 or visit