Memorizing the steps of the horse, the route and the forms that it has to do, and with her trainer at the foot of the track drawing the letters on her leg, this is how Cristina Landete has become the first deafblind athlete to compete on horseback in Spain .
The 14-year-old from Albacete is already a national benchmark, as she is the first person with this disability to compete in para-equestrian dressage, also ranking first in the Pegaso League. “The truth is that I thought she was going to start lower, I didn’t expect to have such good results the first time,” Cristina assured Europa Press.
Some numbers that they have arrived at through “trial and error”, as their coach, Laura Sánchez, points out. “For me it was the first time that I trained with a user with the characteristics of Cris, so everything has been through trial, success and error. At first we tried it with colors, so that she could distinguish the letters, or changing the intensity of the lights, but in the end we have seen that what works best is to memorize the routes and have me accompany her at the foot of the track”.
Method that the Royal Spanish Equestrian Federation has allowed them, giving them all the facilities when competing, and with which they are now preparing a specific annex for people with deafblindness.
“We are super happy to have the authorization of the Spanish and Castilian-Manchega Federation and that we can also adapt all these peculiarities and include them in an annex, so that people with the same disability can start competing”, explained Cristina’s mother, María Angeles Prieto.
red and white bracelet
Among the most important points of the new annex, the creation of a red and white bracelet, distinctive colors of deafblindness, stands out. “It may seem silly, but it is a very important step. In the last competition, Cristina was walking and people passed her, and she got very overwhelmed and she told me, but don’t they realize that I’m blind and I don’t hear? Of course, people don’t know that, blind riders wear a white armband, we want Cris to be able to wear a red and white one, this is going to make a big difference”, celebrates Prieto.
Likewise, they hope to include the presence of the coach at the foot of the track in certain reprises and the figure of the communicative mediator to speak with the judges about the distribution and the lights, prior to the competition.
“What we want is to try to get other people who have the same disability as me to be encouraged to practice this sport and compete. I was the first deafblind woman to compete in a federation in Spain, but I know that there are many people who want to do the same” , indicates Landete.
He lost his vision at 7 months
Cristina was born premature, weighing just 500 grams. At seven months she suffered detachment of both retinas, going blind “overnight”. It was her mother who, at the age of three, decided to enroll her in horse riding so that she would gain balance and confidence in textures. “It was the best, the girl began to gain stability and confidence and she greatly improved her psychomotricity.”
Years later, similarly to what happened with his vision, it happened with his hearing. “Within a short time she lost her hearing and had to start using hearing aids.” From that moment on, Cristina and her family began to learn to communicate with palm dactylology. However, this situation did not bring Cristina down from her horse, on the contrary, she continued training until she started competing just half a year ago.
“I want to try to show that you have whatever disability you have, no matter what happens to you, you can do what you set out to do and more,” he says.
Now, proposed for the Women’s Sports Institute award as a reference woman of the year in the category of inclusive sport, she already thinks about being able to make the leap to the regional and national ones, with a clear message; “Fight for what you want and for what you feel like, don’t think about the people who laugh at you or who tell you that you are not going to achieve it, you can achieve what you propose”.