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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo kicks off this coming weekend, but Tuesday could be the most inspiring day in the arena. Riders practice all year for the Chisholm Challenge, a competition for equestrians with disabilities. Everyone in the building has an uplifting story to share.

The event was put together by 13 therapeutic horseback riding organizations for more than 200 riders from across Texas of all ages and disabilities. The Chisholm Challenge has evolved into the largest competition for equestrians with disabilities in the whole world.

One of the competitors on Tuesday was Jonathan Merchant, a quadriplegic Army veteran. He was told by doctors 17 years ago that he would never be able to ride a horse again. But on Tuesday morning, Merchant won his event.

“If they were to come out and see the event, they’ll be inspired,” Merchant explained. “All the riders with different disabilities, if they can get on a horse and show they can do it, I think it inspires other people who have no disability — wipes away their excuses — to get out there and enjoy life.”

The competition runs until 5:00 p.m. and is free for the public to attend. Click here for details.

Jennifer Lindgren