10-year-old blind equestrian rider from Pritchard allowed to ride in last show of season | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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10-year-old blind equestrian rider from Pritchard allowed to ride in last show of season

Kyra Barrett of Pritchard will compete in the last show of the season after being told she could not compete with her aids.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Hayley Barrett
September 27, 2019 - 12:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - A 10-year old legally blind girl from Pritchard who was told by Equestrian Canada she couldn’t compete has now been allowed to take part in the last show of the year.

Equestrian Canada barred Kyra Barrett from competing with her aids in August. The organization has now allowed her to participate in the last show of the season, so long as she is not judged.

Hayley Barrett says her daughter Kyra was ecstatic when she heard the news, even though she won’t be able to place or earn points.

“Kyra's super pumped and she can’t wait to ride, she’s very eager. She was pretty disappointed about thinking that was the end of her show season,” Barrett says. “They had said we were done, so we weren't preparing for the show at all. I got a letter two days ago, Wednesday, to say she is allowed to do the competition Hors Concours.”

Kyra’s visual impairment dilate her eyes the opposite way from most people when exposed to light - her pupils open up and light floods her vision. She says her daughter can hardly see anything on sunny days, and the use of aids help to keep her in the right direction.

Kyra practices riding on their family farm in Pritchard, east of Kamloops, and unfamiliar arenas could be a danger.

This weekend at the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre, Kyra will be riding in dressage, showjumping and cross country Hors Concours, which means the family paid entrance fees and Kyra will compete with other riders but she will not be judged.

“She's allowed to use all her aids and do all three components but they're just not going to judge her,” Barrett says. "It's a small victory but we’ll keep fighting.”

Kyra has competed in Hors Concours before, and she is one of the top competitors, Barrett says.

Barrett believes a complaint was made to Equestrian Canada by a competitor who felt the 10-year-old had an advantage. Kyra usually rides alongside her coach, who gives her verbal cues on where to turn and when a jump is near. Equestrian Canada barred her from riding alongside her coach, and would also not allow her to wear a headset. They suggested she compete with para-equestrians, but only if she wore a blindfold to ensure she was as disadvantaged as other riders. Barrett did not bring up that option to her daughter, as she felt it would be too degrading.

After Kyra’s situation was brought to light, over 15,700 signed an online petition urging Equestrian Canada to allow her to compete. Barrett says Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre has been supportive of Kyra for years, and they voiced their dismay to Equestrian Canada.

“Maple Ridge is where we're going for this last show,” Barrett says. “They've always been very supportive of Kyra and they fought for Kyra. They themselves were talking to Equestrian Canada saying, ‘No, we want her here.’ They fought really hard to have Kyra.”

Barrett is not certain if this decision will still stand during the next competing season but she has bigger plans for her daughter and hopes to see her compete at the same level as other riders her age. She has hired a lawyer to fight Equestrian Canada in an effort to allow her daughter to compete and be judged in competitions next year.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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