Paralyzed Barrel Racer On Getting Back On the Horse

Nothing will stop barrel racer Amberley Snyder from riding horses — even the car crash that paralyzed her from the waist down.

Paralyzed Rodeo Champion Hopes To Inspire

After an accident left her paralyzed Amberley Snyder had one goal — to get back on her horse. When she was 19, her truck slid off the road — she broke her back and was left paralyzed
from the waist down. Today, she continues to compete in rodeo and works as a motivational speaker. The 2019 Netflix film Walk. Ride. Rodeo. captures her remarkable journey back to riding.

On January 10th, 2010 Amberley was on her way to the Denver Stock Show and Rodeo. As she was passing through Sinclair, WY she took a look down at her map. After only seconds she looked up and realized she had faded into the other lane, headed towards a metal beam. In an effort to get back in her lane, Amberley overcorrected. Her truck slid off the road and rolled and she was ejected from the vehicle. She was slammed into a fence post that broke her back and immediately she lost feeling in her legs.

After five hours of emergency surgery the doctor’s prognosis was she would never regain use or feeling below her waist. He told her if she had worn her seatbelt, she would still have use of her legs. The one mistake she made that day changed her life forever, but it has not defeated her competitive spirit. The top priority for Amberley was not even to walk, but to ride her horses again. Remarkably after only 4 months after the accident, she was back on her horse.

“I told my mom to sell my horses. I said this wasn't gonna work. It wasn't how I wanted it to be. That was rough. I think I needed to adapt to my chair in all realms, and then was able to take back on the horses. But 18 months after was the first barrel run I made and have definitely not looked back since then.”