Empowered Through Blindness
By Deborah McAlexander #BlindSpot
Para-Dressage Equestrian, Grade V Profile B2
Since the age of twenty-four, I have been totally blind in my left eye and have less than five-degree field of central vision in my right eye. I see life as if looking through a straw of sight. Now that you understand how I see, can you imagine what it is like for me to guide a powerful, 1,400- pound horse with a mind of its own that doesn’t speak English? Can you imagine what it is like for me to be the only active Para-Dressage Equestrian with blindness disability in the United States at this time?
Cornet Noir and I shared thrilling experiences winning three first place blue ribbons and one fourth place white ribbon during the Dallas Dressage Club Spring Show I and II June 1 and 2, 2019. Noir, a 10-year old Bavarian Warmblood, is my trustworthy, incredibly kind, and willing partner. On Sunday, we placed first in the USEF Training Level, Test 3, with a score of 66.034%. In this class of nine riders, I was the only Para-Dressage Equestrian. As a matter of fact, I was the only Para-Dressage Equestrian in this entire horse show! All other participants were able bodied athletes. Noir and I enjoyed our first competition opportunity to perform the Para- Equestrian Dressage Grade V Intro A Test and received a 61.875% score on Sunday.
These victories are the result of the rigorous education in the discipline of dressage Noir and I am receiving from Kai Handt, owner and head trainer at the USEF Center of Excellence, North Texas Equestrian Center. Kai Handt is the former USEF Para-Dressage Chef d’Equipe, personal high performance trainer and instructor, as well as the only USEF recognized Para Dressage Coach at the Master Level in the United States.
During this horse show, many able bodied athletes and spectators told me I was a great inspiration to everyone who watched me ride. With a smile on my face, I respond with these words:
“If I can overcome the adversity, obstacles, and failures blinding my Vision Beyond Eyesight, so can you!
Dare to Dream a Paralympics Dream
Believe the Impossible is Possible
Work Hard, Work Smart, Ride to Win
Walk by Faith, not by Sight