You're invited! ETX girl competes in special olympics horse show - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

You're invited! ETX girl competes in special olympics horse show

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas athlete and gold medal equestrian rider is competing in Bullard Saturday afternoon. She wants to make sure everyone is invited, so Danae Patterson sent a handwritten letter to KLTV.

The letter says, "You're invited to the 2014 Special Olympics Horse Equestrian Show." The show is at 1:30 p.m. "Don't be late," Danae adds.

With just hours until the competition, Danae was squirming with excitement and wearing last year's gold medals proudly.

"I practice my walking and doing the trail pattern and of course riding pattern for tomorrow," explains Danae.

The horse she's riding this year is faster and stronger than her horse was last year.

"I rode my horse, Buddy, last year. Now I'm riding a new horse, Daisy... oh my goodness," exclaims Danae.

Danae's mom, Cheryl, says Firehorse Farms in Henderson has changed Danae's life.

"Riding horses really gave her that freedom and it gave her something to be really proud of that she did all my herself," says Cheryl.

The riding facility is a big part of many kids with special needs' lives.

"Their joy... it just overwhelms you and you're so proud," Cheryl says.

Danae is proud of how good she's gotten.

"We have to win," Danae says. Her mom reminds her, "...but you're going to work really hard tomorrow to win right?"

"They might not do great every year, but that's ok too because they get a chance to be themselves and do what they really want to do in life," says Cheryl.

Cheryl says horseback riding has helped Danae mature, and has given her confidence in herself. Still, it's not easy to take a horse into a ring in front of a crowd of strangers. Danae admits she still gets nervous sometimes.

"We just want to see our kids happy and healthy," says Cheryl.

Happy and healthy is exactly how you'll find Danae when she's competing in the ring.
 
Danae has been riding horses since she was six years old. If you want to catch her in action, the show starts at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday March 29 at the Tyler Saddle Club's Mount Selman Arena off of Farm to Market 855.

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