Published: 2023-02-19 13:35
Last Updated: 2023-06-07 23:59
Clutching the reins of his horse Star, Badr Al-Sharari trains at the Medhal equestrian centre east of Riyadh. The 35-year-old refused to let his disability curb his passion, and despite being blind, the Saudi rider has now trailblazed his way to official recognition in horse-mad Saudi Arabia.
Sharari said, "There's a big difference [in my life after practicing horse riding] as it gave me more power and confidence. Horse riding is dangerous as you can see. But with training, I became more confident that I can overcome more obstacles and difficulties."
He continued, "Horse riding changed my life. Previously, I didn't go out often. But after that, I became more sociable especially that I meet a lot of people here. I am the first blind Saudi in the world to receive an equestrian ID and practice horse riding officially. This made me more sociable."
"Horse riding helped me overcome my introversion and become more social," he added.
He shared his dream saying, "My ambition is to achieve the Equestrian World Cup. This is my ambition."
The manger of a horse riding club in Riyadh Malek Al-Theyabi said, "Horses are considered to be a treatment for mental and physical abilities for the horse riders regardless to their situation. Here in the club we have around 450 to 460 cases of autism who come to practice horse riding. They made a big progress and it changed their life."
He explained that "Blind people have the capability, determination and persistence in learning. But the problem is that many make them feel they’re not able to achieve those things. Here, we help them. They’re able to do the impossible and overcome all obstacles."
"In their cases, we gradually train them [blind]. We give intensive training taking into consideration their situation and coping with them until they reach the phase of obstacles jumping," he concluded.