Amberley Snyder, Walk Ride Rodeo
by MIRIAM LUCERO A
mberley Snyder, Author of Walk Ride Rodeo, an in- spirational story on yourself as an equestrian, and a car accident that followed. Would you take us back to early days, on how you became interested in hors- es? When did you start competing? What is your fa- vorite part of competing?
I think my interest in horses was just a part of who I am. When my mom saw the interest she wanted to make sure I had the opportunity. So I started riding at 3 years old in California. When I was seven my family moved to Utah and I told my dad I would only move if he bought me a palomino barrel horse when I got there! He did that and my rodeo career began.
The combination of horses, speed and competition is what I love.
As a competitor your horse is your main focus, would you share about your horses? Did the relationship with your horses change after the accident? Was there any re-training your hors- es required?
My horses are truly my freedom. They have always had my heart, but now they give me something I don’t get anywhere else. That relation- ship definitely changed.
Retraining was in having my horses ignore my legs and listen to my hands and voice. They have to put their heads down for me to reach them as well. Some things are still too hard for me to do, but I do get help when I need it.
Physical Therapy was a large part of your rehabilitation, and not easy. How long were you in PT, before you started riding again? What type of saddle or modifications were needed for your saddle?
I was in PT in the hospital for 6 weeks. Of course, PT is a part of my life all the time now. Even just in the sense of staying healthy. I rode the first time four months after the accident. I didn’t compete again until 18 months after.
I have a seat belt on my saddle plus other straps to hold me in.
Any inspiration or suggestions to others that may have had an ac- cident? What are some steps they can take?
Fear is okay. Whether it is fear of that actual thing or even fear of fail- ure. I have had both occur in different parts of my life. I ask myself how much I love that one thing. If you love something enough, you will be willing to overcome the obstacles to do it.
I like to set goals, make a plan to accomplish them and have a way to celebrate when you do!!
You have written the book Walk Ride Rodeo, and a film on Netflix called Walk Ride Rodeo. From the book to the film how was that process for you? You did most of your stunts for the move, what was that like?
I wrote the book in 2017 when I broke my femur in a horse accident. I never knew it would be the name of a movie. It has been a process for sure and not one you can prepare for. So many emotions are felt when
16 FEBRUARY 2020 I HORSE & AG MAGAZINE
you relive your life. I am thankful to have experienced them all to be apart of the movie making!
I am the only paralyzed barrel racer in the United States so I would not negotiate on someone else playing my part there. It was very fun to play ourselves as well as let my little sister play my pre-accident self.
The first time you rode after your accident, what was that like? How long did it take for you to compete again?
It was horrible. I realized it was never going to be like it was before. I had to overcome a lot of emotional feelings to be back in the saddle happily.
February Issue is our heart healthy for you and your horses. Any health & wellness tips for our readers and for horses?
I am not a good one to ask about the outer health! I don’t think I have every worked out! But…. I can share about the inner health. It is so important to regulate how you feel. You are allowed to be selfish with yourself sometimes; I even have to remember that.
I have the goal this year to avoid the things I know repeatedly make me unhappy if avoidable. I also truly believe in celebrating small things!! Every victory counts.
What is on the horizon for Amberley Snyder? Speaking, Rodeo, Another book, 2 Charities, Rodeo New York!
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