Equestrian Canada #LetKyraJump

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Photo credit Global News article.

Kyra Barrett of Prichard, BC loves to jump. Horses give her freedom from being blind in a world of sighted people. On a horse with the assistance of a guide horse and guide rider, she has been able to compete against able bodied athletes in Eventing (jumping, cross country and dressage). Eventing is a challenging sport for able bodied riders. Earlier this year, Equestrian Canada approved the use of a guide horse and certified her for para-equestrian classification. Kyra has done well. Right up until someone complained about her use of a guide horse as being an unfair advantage. Surely riding blind cannot equal riding sighted with a guide horse and definitely not equal without one. Please ask Equestrian Canada to reverse its removal of Kyra’s approved status. 

At 10, Kyra deserves to have some semblance of normalcy in sport. I can’t even begin to imagine the challenge of riding blind and think that para riders of any age should be encouraged rather than chastised and eliminated based on their necessary supports. If this were truly an even playing field, all riders competing with Kyra should try to ride dressage or jumping blindfolded. As that sounds incredibly difficult and dangerous, the simplest and fairest answer would be to reestablish Kyra’s approval.

C’mon Equestrian Canada! Our sport is better for having para riders and having acceptance for our differences rather than a strict policy of ableism and discrimination.