Lisa Ramsey believes competing in the Chisholm Challenge is “spiritual, very spiritual.”
“Sometimes you can have a really special bond with an animal,” said Ramsey, a Fort Worth police officer who was shot in 2003 while trying to make an arrest and is paralyzed from the chest down. “It’s even more beautiful with a special horse. The horse becomes my legs.”
Ramsey and about 160 others will ride in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s 11th annual event for equestrians with disabilities. The lead-in event of the Stock Show’s Jan. 17 to Feb. 8 run, Chisholm Challenge takes over the John Justin Arena today. It’s an American Quarter Horse Association-sanctioned series of competitions.
Ramsey will ride Tuesday and Wednesday in drill team, Western equitation and Western trail.
“Drill team is where we wear costumes,” Ramsey said. “Two years ago our theme was Land of Time and we dressed like cave people and the horses looked like dinosaurs.”
This year’s theme is a secret until the performance, but it’s going to wow everyone, Ramsey said.
A horse enthusiast most of her life, Ramsey said just being able to ride again was wonderful. But competing again takes it to another level.
Riders are coming from therapeutic horseback riding centers that include All Star Equestrian, Blue Sky, Born 2 Be, Equest, Haven’s Horses, ManeGait, Riding Unlimited, Stable Strides, Stars and Strides, Texas Tech, Victory Therapy Center and Wings of Hope.
Dwayne Wheeler, Chisholm Challenge president, envies Ramsey and her fellow competitors who get to ride in “the most prestigious horse show in the world, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. That’s something I will never get to do.”