Blindness is “No Barrier” For 19-Year-Old Equestrian Teen

Blindness is “No Barrier” For 19-Year-Old Equestrian Teen

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Hari Roberts is a 19-year-old self-confessed daredevil who enjoys an action-packed life of climbing, horseback riding, swimming, and running. He’s also been blind since birth.

That hasn’t stopped the outgoing teen from Anglesey, Wales, from continually surprising strangers who initially didn’t caught on that he’s blind and astounding them with his “can do” attitude.

I have just done a high-roped climbing course with my dad, I’ve been horse riding since I was nine years old, I’ve been skiing and I’ve gone on to do a triathlon to raise money, and I like running, swimming and walking.

I’ve shown from a young age that being blind is no barrier if you’re motivated and truly believe in yourself.”

His amazing, self-assured confidence was a labor of love instilled by his parents who taught Roberts from a young age that being blind doesn’t make you handicap, if you truly believe in yourself.

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In day to day life it doesn’t make anything different,” he said. “There is always a will and a way to find or figure a way out of doing something. It’s easier do everything on my own without people giving me a hand, apart from when I go to shop because I can’t see things on the shelf.”

When it comes to his love of horses, Roberts becomes animated, telling anyone who’s listening that he been riding horses since he was 9-years old and is currently studying Equine Care and Management at Coleg Cambria Northop College in North East Wales. After graduation, he hopes to eventually work with horses and riders as a nutritionist.

I’ve loved my time at the college and learnt a lot, about myself and the industry.”

A few people are surprised when they find out what I am doing because it is unusual to them, but I’ve shown from a young age that being blind is no barrier if you’re motivated and truly believe in yourself.

At Cambria I have grown and before I joined the college managed to get some work experience so I could get to know the yard, the people, and the set-up, which really helped me.”

Roberts believes it’s important that people with disabilities, “learn from their mistakes, so if they fall, they will remember it and they won’t do it again, but it won’t help them in the long run if you constantly mollycoddle them.”

Hari adds, “Nine times out of 10, if you want to do things your body does the work, not your eyes, so whatever you want to do there is always a will and a way to do it, you’ve just got to figure out a way to do it for your own personal needs.”

Natalie Cliffe, one of Roberts’s equine lecturers at Northop, said, “His attitude and ability are unparalleled, as is his strength of character.”

Cliffe continued, “We will really miss him here at the college but know Hari will go on to have a long and successful career in the industry.”

Roberts was born with a rare eye disease called Leber Congenital Amaurosis, which is an inherited condition caused by defects in one of a number of different genes that causes severe tunnel vision. The disease affects about 1 in 80,000 people and is the most common form of inherited sight loss in children.

However, there is some good news. Roberts has undergone a corneal replacement procedure in 2020 and is still recovering from the surgery, but at last report there seems to be some slight improvement with his vision.