Amberley Snyder’s life has always been the rodeo. Since she could walk she has been in a saddle, and at 18 she was competing at rodeos across the country. Her dreams came to a crashing halt when she over-corrected her truck and flipped it, ejecting herself from the cab and breaking her back on a fence post. Her doctors told her that she would probably never walk again, and would certainly never ride again. Amberley had another plan, and told her therapist at the initial interview that her goal was to “Walk, ride, rodeo.”
Her recovery was slow going despite the best efforts of her therapists. Her balance was so bad if she was sitting on her bed and brushing her hair, she could just fall over. Amberley mentioned to her therapist that her balance was best in her saddle, so they brought her saddle into the therapy room and true to her word, her balance dramatically improved.
A mere 4 months after her accident Amberley was back in her saddle, riding her horse. It wasn’t the overwhelming sense of joy one would expect however. “The first day I got back on my horse, it was the hardest day of my life. In that moment I realized my whole life is different.” For 8 months Amberley didn’t want to ride, didn’t want to see, didn’t even want to own horses. She begged her mom to sell them, all of them.
Amberley was able to recover from her low place, and 18 months after her accident she began competing at barrel racing once again. Using a seat belt, a series of straps and rubber bands to hold her boots in the stirrups, Amberley was able to ride with the best of them. Her horses have learned to ignore her legs and rely on audible and hand cues.
6 years later, she is firm competitor. She is still training and riding barrel racing horses, and just won her first buckle since her accident: the Legacy Barrel Race, on a horse she trained entirely while paralyzed.
Original Story and Video: Today ShowAuthor: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773
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