OVERCOME & CONQUER - THE NATHAN HARVEY WAY
25TH Nov, 2019
Life with horses can be... Trying? Unpredictable? Consuming? It’s no secret that owning horses and riding competitively, whilst rewarding in countless ways, can be a real test of your emotional fortitude, strength of character and your bank balance. However, imagine living your horsey life with a disability? This is the reality for PWRA sponsored rider, Nathan Harvey.
Nathan has achieved amazing results in 2019. His mum and biggest supporter, Kim Harvey, kindly shares their story with us:
“Nathan began in Riding for the Disabled, a fabulous organization for people with ‘different abilities’ (as I call it). Nathan went on to compete Pony Club with his own black pony, Tommy, when he was 6 years old. Having fun at Pony Club Camps and events, Nathan loved every minute. His older sister was also an accomplished horsewoman, he idolized her.
At the age of 18 years, Nathan had it all. He passed his Higher School Certificate with honors, Tech awarded for Hospitality, he had a job and was going for his license. Then Nathan began losing his eyesight, and after two failed corneal transplants, Nathan was left Visually Impaired. But nothing deters Nathan, he just has to come up with a different plan.
In a way Nathan had to learn to ride all over again, with the help of his mare BB. That is until his mum (me!) got herself a competition horse named Robbie. Within weeks I had lost the ride to Nathan! Robbie was laid-back, 17hh and took Nathan to his first Special Olympics qualifier and his first open competitions. They could not ride a circle at first but with a great deal of work they became champions. Robbie the Wonder Horse was Nathan’s eyes.”
After Robbie retired five years ago, Dom - a beautiful, big, black stallion – came on the scene. Nathan fell in love at once. Dom had been poorly handled in the past and generally did not care for people. Except for Nathan. Despite the naughty behaviour, Nathan persevered and together they built an awe-inspiring partnership. A relationship so special that Dom’s owners, James and Vanessa Hart, gifted Dom to Nathan. They have had many successes in the dressage arena, culminating in being awarded Champion at Boneo Spring CDI Grade V FEI PE earlier this year.
In March, Nathan competed at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Not only did he win two Gold Medals in Dressage but, amazingly, also won the Bronze in Showjumping. Recently, Nathan was nominated and won Elite Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Incredibly, in esteemed company, he was also named overall Sports Person of the Year.
What does the future hold for Nathan? He is aiming for the 2024 Paralympics and hopes to train a horse to Prix St. George. Nathan is also looking to raise funds to develop an Equestrian Centre for people with different abilities that can cater for all levels of riders. Of course these are indeed ambitious goals, but with the tireless help of his support crew, there is no doubt that Nathan will be victorious!
UPDATE: Two weeks ago, Nathan had a devastating fall from a young horse that resulted in very serious injuries. Our thoughts and support are with Nathan during this time and we are delighted to hear that he is now back on his feet, albeit slowly, and we hope he has a speedy and full recovery.