Blind love


Everyone's eyes are on the chestnut mare and her rider.

As befits a lady and national triple-gait champion saddler Lady Domain looks every inch the aristocrat. Her head is held high, her ears are pointed forward and her neck is proudly arched. She oozes confidence and she’s here for one reason only: to win.

Her rider looks even more confident. With each command Chelsey Cooper gives, Lady Domain walks, trots and canters like a true champion. And when the spectators applaud enthusiastically after the impressive triple-gait class Lady Domain’s rider leans over and whispers into her ear, “We beat them blindfolded, Lady!”

Sitting in the back of the stands mom Anneli Cooper breathes a sigh of relief. She’s an experienced horsewoman

who for years competed in equestrian sports but she has never been this tense. Now tears spill down her cheeks.

Chelsey beat 40 participants at the South African Saddle Horse Championships in Bloemfontein and in a flawless round came first in the triple-gait class in her age group.

What makes her performance even more remarkable is her horse is blind.

The judges were unaware of this – according to the rules a blind horse may not compete – although during Chelsey’s round rumour spread like wildfire that she was riding a blind horse.

Read more about this remarkable story in the YOU of 25 February 2010.

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