Rider Tory Watters To Compete At The 120th National Horse
Florida November 21, 2003 -- Tory Watters was a happy, athletic,
horse-crazy teenager, living in Cincinnati with her parents, when
she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and damaged optic nerves. Tory
had been riding horses since the age of two and had been winning
blue ribbons in the childrens hunter division for many years.
At the age of 14, major headaches and blurred vision resulted in
a life-changing operation and the removal of a malignant tumor.
No follow-up radiation was required, and, luckily, the cancer was
stopped in its tracks. However, Tory was left with no vision in
her right eye and with 20/200 vision in her left eye.
where did Tory go from there? Right back to what she always loved
and knew best: horses, jumping and competition. While Tory sees
life as a big, impressionist painting, she has learned to adjust.
There is nothing -- short of driving a car --- that Tory cannot
and will not do. Her positive attitude and supportive family life
have made Tory a winner in more ways than one.
Now, at age 38, living in Wellington with her two beautiful sons,
Tory competes at the highest amateur hunter levels. Torys
riding success has been so great that she was selected to compete,
yet again, at the upcoming 120th National Horse Show in Wellington
only the top 20 or so horse and rider teams in the United
States, in each division, are invited to compete at The National.
And Tory has qualified with two of her best mounts, See For
Yourself and Eye Remember Rio.
120th National will take place from Wednesday, November 26 through
Sunday, November 30, 2003 at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club
How does Tory approach a very large jump on a very large horse when
everything is, literally, a big blur? Talent, guts, practice and
reliable mounts. And Tory, since her operation, given her indefatigable
sense of humor and irony, has always named her horses with an eye/vision
Since last years National in Wellington and the press associated
therewith, Torys life has taken an unbelievable turn. Her
story has been featured in many national newspapers; CBS Early
Show did a special feature on Tory on August 1, 2003; and
best of all The Scheppens Eye Institute of Boston has taken
an interest in Torys case, working with her on a cure to her
condition. Short of a cure, Scheppens will soon be fitting Tory
with special low vision eyeglasses, with a binocular-type attachment,
that will enable Tory to see life clearly for the first time in
many years. Tory is also scheduled to appear on The Oprah Winfrey
Torys next effort is to create a symbol/button for people
with her low vision situation to wear, so that people will understand
her and others with her optical situation. For example, as Tory
tells it, when she goes to, say, a McDonalds with her two
boys, she cannot read the menu posted on the board above the servers.
How does she order? Often, she just orders what the person in front
of her just ordered. But, other times, she asks the servers whats
on the menu --- and is treated as an illiterate. Torys brilliant
idea is to develop a symbol understood by one and all
that would indicate to those around her that she has serious vision
problems. No doubt, with Torys determination, this symbol
will become part of the American vernacular.