REDLANDER Beau Catalano has made Ekka history, becoming one of the first disability horse riders to compete in the ring during show time.
The nine-year-old, who suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome, was named champion rider in the led/assisted category - an award which could only be won by accruing points at the Marburg, Gatton, Brookfield, Caboolture and Brisbane shows.
Beau's mother Ros Catalano said the condition caused chronic hunger which had to be monitored to avoid health complications like type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
She said Beau started riding horses to become more socially and physically active.
"At the beginning of his life journey Beau was also allergic to animals," she said.
"I used to take him down to my mare and let him pat her but he would break out in rashes.
"...He's always loved the horse and wanted to be with her but didn't understand he was allergic to them.
"Over years and years of working with him we've built up his immunity.
"Getting him out in the community he's starting to learn how to interact socially...that's what horse riding has been for Beau and I."
If it was not for disability support worker Marilyn Stocks, who first advocated for disability classes at the major Queensland shows, Beau would not have been able to compete at the Ekka.
"It wasn't until this year I saw news about disability riding at the shows and thought 'what a cool thing to get Beau doing'," Ms Catalano said.
"...I'm so grateful to Marilyn for starting this because we get out of the house.
"I don't think a lot of people are aware there is disability horse riding out there.
"There isn't many sports for those with disabilities unless it's specifically designed for them like rugby, AFL and things like that.
"Now it's about making people aware that if they are interested in getting into horse riding as a sport there is something attached to it."
You can follow Beau's story at facebook.com/pg/Beau-My-Footprint-368333406866443/videos/
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