Chisolm Challenge gives special needs riders a chance to shine

FORT WORTH, TX — The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo got its unofficial kickoff with the 15th annual Chisolm Challenge; a horse riding event designed for people living with disabilities.

“What the Stock Show people do for Chisolm Challenge and for the special needs is just amazing,” said John Amodei with All Star Equestrian, therapeutic horseback riding foundation. “I can’t say thank you enough and… for these individuals to be able to come here and show off the way they do and it shows that they truly are athletes. These are gifted riders. They’re not just special needs, they’re special riders.”

And for these special riders, horsemanship isn’t just a fun hobby. Riders like Monica, who competed in the first ever Chisolm Challenge 15 years ago, and brought home a blue ribbon.

“She has been riding horses since she was five years old,” said Amodei, Monica’s father. “She’ll be 30 in March and when she first started riding she was in a wheelchair and as you can tell she’s no longer in a wheelchair. She loves riding.”

Yeah, these horses have helped all these riders overcome the tough hands they’ve been dealt, and high up on those saddles they’ve got a special outlook on life.