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Sunflower Slide horse competition welcomes para reigning

Published: Sep. 12, 2020 at 10:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -KRHA’s Sunflower Slide brought together riders and their horses from across the state for a reigning competition.

“I think the exciting part about reigning is that you are able to control that horse’s power at a full speed on a loose reign and basically prove the bond between horse and rider,” said trainer Marcello Guzman.

The Sunflower Slide included para- reigning, which allows riders with disabilities to compete along side everyone else.

“Para means parallel not paraplegic or anything like that. Para means parallel to able body sports so you hear of the Paralympics, we’re the Paralympics in reigning.”

Marcelo Guzman and Briana Bartlet have been working with Hope Ranch to help take their therapy riders into a competitive atmosphere.

“Horses make disabilities disappear, what I love is that when I’m walking or using my wheelchair everyone knows that there is something wrong with me or that there is something not quite right or I’m not normal but when I’m on that horse no one can see that anymore and reigning is a sport where they get to focus on the horse and I get to make what’s wrong with me disappear,” said Breanna Bartlet.

The riders say the program allows them to saddle up while not letting their disability hold them back.

“Para-reigning is a awesome horse sport for all different kinds of people and I get to ride today and I can’t wait,”said rider, Jerret Lippert.

“It makes me feel a part of things and like I can do anything and I feel like a normal person despite my disability”

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