Special Olympics Equestrian Competition Rides into Town

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

23-year-old Katherine Richards has one incredible connection to her horse Harry.

And for this Special Olympics athlete from Houston, saddling up a powerful horse like Harry is something she's always wanted to do.

"I've liked horseback riding ever since I was a little girl," said Richards.

Katherine is one of 145 athletes in town for the State Special Olympics Equestrian Competition.

"It's pretty big but I can handle it. I can manage it very easily," said Richards with confidence.

"We can work on overcoming fear," said Shayna Bolton.

Bolton works with the SIRE Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Houston and has trained Katherine over the past two years.

"She really has blossomed in her riding. She understands the commitments it takes, the sacrifices it will take to become an accomplished rider and that it doesn't happen by just sitting on a horse," said Bolton.

It seems these incredible animals almost have a sixth sense when dealing with these incredible athletes.

"It's amazing. The horse itself is a very therapeutic animal. It's not judgmental, it's a very kind animal but you have to respect it," said Bolton.

In Harry and Katherine's relationship, there's nothing but respect and a little fight over face time on camera. But in the end, it's all about working together.

"I love how I get to work with the horse and become friends with other people that I've never met," said Richards.

Now the Special Olympics Equestrian Competition isn't the only event going on this weekend at the Brazos County Expo.

The Big Loop Big Money Team Roping event and the Brazos Valley Fair & Expo Youth Western Art Show will also be taking place. All three events are free and open to the public.

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