Watch live: FOX8’s Daytona 500 special ‘Countdown to the 500’

Blind teenager becomes champion horseback rider

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Winston-Salem teenager is now a national champion horseback rider. What is even more amazing about her -- she is legally blind.

Rachel Sanchez, 15, won at the American Royal horse show in Kansas City, Mo., last weekend.

"I'm still on cloud nine," Rachel said with a laugh.

Not your regular competitive rider, Rachel can only make out shapes and colors.

When Rachel was in kindergarten she was riding with her grandfather back to Winston-Salem and teenagers shooting at cars along Interstate 40 in Hickory stuck her behind her right ear. The bullet went through her brain and lodged in the left side of her skull causing a traumatic brain injury and limiting the use of the right side of her body.

"She's nothing short of a miracle," said her trainer, Mary Orr. "She's come back from where I don't they knew that she'd be able to walk, talk or do all the things that she does."

Rachel has been competing for five years at a high level and plans to continue. She has some advice for anyone dealing with disabilities.

"Never give up. Keep on trying," she said.


Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.