She Can’t Drive, But She Can Ride


Photo: Katie Knight
Katie Knight is legally blind, but she still participates in the most demanding horse sport: eventing.

Katie Knight has a condition called wet macular degeneration, The Chronicle of the Horse reports.

Her left eye was diagnosed in 2011 when she began losing central vision, and in 2014 it showed up in her right eye. She has some peripheral vision but is no longer able to drive.

She was already a dressage rider — a discipline that requires precise, technical riding — when she moved to Colorado. There she met riders who participate in the gutsy sport of eventing, which has three phases: dressage, show jumping in an arena, and cross-country, which requires galloping over open land and jumping natural obstacles including walls, ditches and solid fences.

One of her new friends said to her, “If you are not a little afraid, you are not riding.”

Katie had more reason than most to be a little afraid. Her loss of vision had already cost her her job, but she wasn’t ready to give up riding.

And at a recent horse trial in New Mexico, the organizers allowed Katie to ride a cross-country round with a guide horse going ahead of her to help her find the jumps.

“It was super fun,” Katie told the Chronicle. “I want to do it again!”

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