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TDF's Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund Recipient: Deborah McAlexander

Thank you for a grant in the amount of $1,000.00 from TDF's Para-Equestrian Dressage Fund for Visually Impaired Riders.  Your generous grant made it possible for Cornet Noir, my performance horse, and me to receive 17 lessons at North Texas Equestrian Center from Kai Handt.   

This training has helped transform me from being a “lovely passenger” into a kinder, more effective rider.  Because of this ongoing transformation, Noir is happily responding to my improved use of aids and the growing, joyful, unspeakable connection between us.  I cannot imagine how any other horse could be a more trustworthy, willing, and incredibly kind partner than Noir. Noir has been a “patient saint” as I have made, and will continue to make, many rider errors while learning the fine art of dressage.  He knows he must use his eyes to see for both of us.  Noir uses all of his senses to protect both of us as we often navigate through dangerous and unpredictable environments when many other horse and rider teams are traveling in random directions at various speeds.  I used to find these situations terrifying, and I know Noir felt every bit of my fear.  Together, we have worked through these adverse experiences.  I am thankful for having been exposed to these rough ride situations.  Kai and my other riding instructors always have my back, and I believe I am often placed in these challenging circumstances to either break me or transform me into the strong, courageous, determined, and effective rider I must become to compete in this most difficult of riding disciplines.  Til death do us part, Cornet Noir and I are ONE HEARTBEAT PARTNERS as we ride through adversity by faith, not by sight. 

I have received a confirmed classification for competition from the International Blind Sports Federation.  My long-term goal is to meet the qualification to represent the United States in future international competitions.  Noir and I will chase our dream, catch it, and not look back! 

Because I am a Grade V Para-Equestrian Dressage Athlete with an “unseen disability,” I function differently than non-disabled and adaptive sports athletes. We have the bold and resilient drive to win, and we do!  We are Life’s Ride Champions, and our extraordinary story of tragedy and triumph proclaims that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible when we ride by faith, not by sight.  If Noir and I can overcome the adversity, obstacles, and failures blinding our pathway to happiness and success, so can everyone!