Anne Cecilie Ore began riding at age 11 and was soon a show-jumping competitor. Trouble was, she could barely see the jumps in front of her and had no peripheral vision.
Ore's eyesight kept getting worse. By age 14, she was totally blind.
But blindness has never stopped Ore, who turns 32 on Monday, from achieving her equestrian dreams.
The resident of Oslo, Norway, trains in Germany and is an active para-dressage rider in Europe. She competed last week as part of the Norwegian para-dressage team at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, but was disappointed with her sixth- and seventh-place scores.
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Before leaving America, Ore had one more goal to achieve. She had always wanted to learn reining — that Western-style sport of flashy horsemanship in which riders gently guide their mounts through dizzying spins and sliding stops in a cloud of dirt.
When WEG board member Becky Jordan heard about Ore's wish, she knew how to make it come true. She arranged for Ore to have a reining lesson from her daughter, Lyndsey, 22, a two-time world champion who performed at the Games' reining exhibition Sept. 30.
Ore arrived at the Jordans' Scott County farm Saturday morning with a delegation from the Norwegian team in tow. Lyndsey Jordan introduced her to Blazin, a laid-back, 10-year-old quarter horse who wore the first Western-style saddle Ore had ever used.
With Jordan calling out cues, Ore walked Blazin around the ring, then they cantered. Within 15 minutes, Ore and Blazin were a team. There was no obvious sign that the rider couldn't see where she was going.
"It was just amazing to me how well she was able to go around the arena," Jordan said afterward. "Once she made the first couple of laps around she knew exactly where she was."
Within a half hour, Jordan had given Ore the spurs off her boots and was teaching her to guide Blazin through spins and sliding stops.
"The cues are a little different from sport to sport," Jordan said. "But I would tell her what my cues were and she just had it. She knew exactly what she was doing. Her posture and positioning on the horse were just beautiful. She's a very good rider."
When it was time to dismount, Ore was all smiles.
"It was like a dream since I was 11," she said. "The really fun stuff was the sliding and the spins. When the spins are slow you get really dizzy, but when you go faster you are not so dizzy. Not like I had imagined it."
Ore wasn't the only one smiling.
"She is fearless," Becky Jordan said. "That was just amazing."