As I mentioned in my last post, we had our first para-equestrian rider at the show on the weekend, Nel Godin-Keating. She's a twelve year old girl and her celebral palsy hasn't stopped her from becoming an exceptional equestrian. CTV did a short story on on it, captured in this video, and I absolutely guarantee that watching it will inspire you and make you realize you just witnessed something special. The story has gone national, is spreading on facebook and is now posted on Barnmice. If you ever had the feeling (haven't we all?) that horses changed your life, just look at what they've done for this talented little girl.
Nel memorized her test and rode it flawlessly without a caller, despite this being her first show ever and despite all the other things she has to think about. Her horse was a little spooky when he came in (ridden by the trainer), because of the reflection in the plexi-glass on the sides, but when Nel got on he became as focussed and tuned in to his rider as any top dressage horse I've ever seen - not one false move.Our club got involved when I was farwarded an email that accidently went to another club a couple of months ago. It was from Nel's mother, wondering if she could come to our show. We bagan to correspond and the rest as they say is history. The R.I.D.E.R.S. Board totally came on board with supporting para-equestrian dressage and now we hope to make it easier for others to get started. We'll be discussing soon and I'll keep you posted. Already we've heard of others who want to participate. Nel is a catalyst and she's inspired us all.