FORT WORTH, Texas - The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo returns to live action this week for the first time in two years.
Monday was the start of the Chisholm Challenge, three days of competition for equestrian athletes with special needs that is the unofficial start of rodeo festivities.
The competitors ride horses uniquely matched to their abilities.
"It was amazing! He was a little forward, but he did his best," said Sabrina Griffin, who is taking home three prize ribbons. "He’s more like a thoroughbred, he acts like a thoroughbred. For the horsemanship he’s he was a little fussy on his space, like whenever I pivot."
Events include showmanship, walk and trot and more. The judging is tough.
"These riders love this horse show because they get to compete just like any other horse show. They get to dress in their finest horse show attire," said Debbie Head, Chisholm Challenge organizer. "It is the highlight of their year. We have over 160 riders representing 12 equine therapy centers."
Griffin is competing after spending a few years away from riding. Her trainer says it’s a special kind of therapy that’s hard to explain.
"Each rider is different in their abilities and special needs are different. The nice part about the horses is they really help make us whole," said Mandy Cleveland, trainer.
Not to mention, delighted.
"I am so proud!" Griffin said.