"Remember in the text that the team is very important," insists Félix Gómez González, 56, when he talks about the people around him: his coaches Antonio Valencia and Mario Vallejo; the caretaker of his horses, Luis Miguel Carmena; his partner "and fundamental piece", Crezca González, 'Crescen', and his physiotherapist, Montse Martínez. «They help me in everything because, as I am disabled, I need them to take care of me and prepare the horse to train and compete; They put me on the ramp and from there I ride », he synthesizes gratefully.
This Toledo from Añover de Tajo is the new champion of Spain in grade 2 adapted dressage (there is an interval of 1 of 6, the least serious injury). He won the title in Barcelona last weekend with Merlín, a Hanoverian horse of German origin.
And with him he will also compete in Belgium from June 28 to July 2 to represent Spain. “It will be difficult, because there is a high level, and we are going to prove ourselves”, says this lively rider, who is in a wheelchair as a result of an accident at work that occurred almost seven years ago.
On August 30, 2015, his life took a turn. A tornado had dismantled two or three corrugated iron sheets in one of his chicken farms; Felix went up to fix them, one broke "and I sneaked in." He fell from a height of about six meters and a spinal cord injury left him a paraplegic. “There is no choice but to take it in the best possible way. Either you face it or there is no your aunt », resigned this poultry farmer, who now manages the farm from his wheelchair, « where everything is automated », with the help of his workers.
Felix was already riding a horse before the accident. He competed in harassment and takedown, and misfortune did not sink him. After going through the National Hospital for Paraplegics in Toledo, his friend and his coach Mario Vallejo encouraged him to continue. Among the horses he had, the rider chose a gentle "and good." He began to slowly mount Faraco, now deceased, and then found out that there was a dressage competition.
He and his team contacted Fátima Cao, "who is bringing para-equestrian to light, trying to get a team in adapted dressage for the Olympics in France." She told him in which category he should compete, grade 2, in which Felix is the new Spanish champion since Sunday.
He does not feel from the waist down, so it is difficult for him to keep his balance on the horse. «I shoot of the 'cuore', as they say'. Félix refers, between laughs, to the abdominal, lumbar, pelvic muscles, buttocks and the deep musculature of the spine. «I have a training ramp and a removable ramp to compete. My team pulls me up the ramp and I ride. To fix myself, I have some Velcro straps on the seat, but very small, five or six centimeters, and I keep my balance with my abdominals », he sums up.
Now Grote-Brogel awaits him, 100 kilometers east of Brussels, where he will compete the last week of June and the first week of July. Merlin sure works magic in Felix's hands.