Blind Ambition: British Para Dressage Rider Never Looks Down--or Back

Have you ever closed your eyes when you ride to really feel the horse beneath you? Try it. Then imagine keeping them closed...for the rest of your life.
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Verity Smith's blog name tells it all: "The Girl Who Never Looks Down".

And she never does, because she is blind. 

This video should be on everyone's "must watch" list. If you're having a bad day--or your horse is--consider what Verity Smith has done to not only keep riding but to rise to a level of excellence that gives her confidence that she will reach her ambitious and noble goal.

The British-born dressage rider, who has already represented her country at the European championship level, is rounding up support to be on her way to Rio for the 2016 Paralympics. The goal of Rio comes after several personal setbacks in 2011 that kept her from trying for the British home team at the 2012 Olympics.

Among other things, she lost both her horse and her service dog that year. 

A fresh start is on everyone's wish list, and Verity is well on her way to her new goal. Her new Labradoodle service dog, Uffa, will be at her side.

Dressage rider Verity Smith has a new service dog, the Labradoodle "Uffa".

Dressage rider Verity Smith has a new service dog, the Labradoodle "Uffa".

If talent, humor, bravery and determination have anything to do with it, she'll be in Rio. 

Today CNN selected her for their "Human to Hero" series and released this video.

At least one other blind British dressage rider, Nicky Thompson, hopes to be at Rio as well.

Anne Cecille Orr of Norway is a blind dressage rider who competed in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

Read Verity Smith's full story on the CNN web site.

To learn more:

"Dressage: Just What the Doctor Ordered" from Dressage Today

"Valiant: Blind Horse Excels at Dressage and Stars in Film" on The Jurga Report

Watch for Verity's new website, coming soon: www.veritysmithdressage.com

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