Ophelia, blind, an outstanding western rider

 

Ophelia lost her sight following a horse kick in her face. On November 3 and 4, 2018, she is in the running for the para-reining world championship, which is being held at Equita’Lyon. The queen of western riding. 

Western riding for all: the Lyon Horse Show, which is the largest gathering of western riding outside the American continent, will welcome disabled riders for the first time in France in a para-reining competition (dressage for disabled riders). The Salon Equita Longines opened its doors on October 31, 2018 at the exhibition park Eurexpo and will welcome until Sunday, November 4 3,500 horses, donkeys and ponies on a surface of 140,000 m 2 .

Eight committed countries

With 22,000 euros, the World Para-Reining Challenge is an international competition organized by WPR (World Para-Reining), an association founded by Lisa Coulter, a non-profit organization that develops adapted reining programs. people with physical disabilities. The reining is to western riding what dressage is to classic riding. Para-reining is practiced at all levels, from beginner to international competition, thanks to the mental dispositions of American horses, extremely docile and manageable. Eight countries-Great Britain, the United States, Belgium, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Italy and France-will each be represented by a team of one to three riders.

A kick to the face

Ophélie de Favitski’s rider, after having passed the para-equestrian jumping competition, will be in the French team. This blind rider will ride a 15-year-old quarter horse, Leo-Dyn Boogie DC. She will compete in a team event on November 3rd and an individual event the next day to try to win the para-reining World Championship. ” It’s complicated to change the classic riding codes to Western riding, I’ve been training with my horses for a month and a half, especially having the reins more relaxed. actions. it is a riding that asks to be less toned horse “, told AFP the rider, 38, who lost his sight 15 years ago after receiving a horse kick in the face.

Image result for Ophelia of Favitsky

Western: more accessible riding

According to her, ” for riders with disabilities, western riding is more accessible than traditional riding “. ” We are better stuck in the western saddle and this riding can be done with one or two hands, the horses are very fine and require less strength, it is an interesting horse riding ,” she said. As for Canadian rider Janice Boucher, whose Parkinson’s disease was diagnosed 5 years ago, she believes ” this competition is a real showcase for para-reining “.