A rider who has no vision in one eye and almost none in the other took a win at the British Showjumping national championships – on a horse he had ridden only once before.
Ronnie Robinson, 14, and In a World of His Own took the junior grade IV para title on Friday (9 August).
Ronnie told H&H he can see 2cm in front of him in one eye, and has some sense of colours, but that is all.
“When we walk the course, I learn the jumps by their colour, then my mum stands in the ring with me and says ‘Turn now!’” he explained, adding that when it comes to finding the right stride, “I just hope the horse does it”.
Ronnie was born with his condition but started helping his sisters, who rode, at the age of six, then got in the saddle himself soon afterwards.
His mother Karen explained that Ronnie’s skill at “mapping” helps him learn courses, as he walks exactly the lines he will ride, as well as noting the colours of the jumps.
“In the championship, he went to the wrong fence and I had to scream at him, and he managed to pull out in time,” she told H&H. “He can see blobs of colour so we use that to help learn courses but that doesn’t always work – at one show, all the jumps were white!”
In a World of His Own was borrowed from a fellow para rider for the occasion – and the one show beforehand at which Ronnie had ridden him.
“The owner told me we could trust him implicitly,” Karen said, adding that she is looking for another suitable horse for Ronnie.
The rider lost her finger when her ring was caught in the rug strap of a horse who panicked and
‘Dad said: ‘Just go in and have fun, and I did’
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“He’s never been treated any differently to anyone else, he’s not wrapped in cotton wool,” she said. “I didn’t want him to ride but he asked his consultant himself, which is how it came about.
“The sight he’s got is fragile, so if he fell and hit his head he could lose it; it’s a real worry but he has to do what makes him happy.
“He doesn’t want to be seen as different to anyone else, and he hasn’t let [his condition] stop him from doing anything.”
And Ronnie added: “I just want to inspire other people to do what they want to do – and hopefully make it to the Paralympics one day.”
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