North Maclean's Nathan Harvey brings home gold from Special Olympics World Summer Games

North Maclean's Nathan Harvey has returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in the United Arab Emirates with a haul of medals.

Proving people living with disabilities can do anything they put their minds to, the 32-year-old, who is almost completely blind and has autism, rode his way to gold in the A Grade Dressage and English Equitation events before picking up a bronze in show jumping.

In total, the Australian team comprising four riders brought home an incredible nine medals.

Held in Abu Dhabi from March 8 to 21, the Special Olympics showcased the talents of 7,000 people with an intellectual disability from 170 nations as they competed across 24 sports in front of half a million people.

While in the Middle East, the visiting athletes also attended schools and took part in a cultural exchange, and the Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, shouted them entry to the UAE's many theme parks and attractions.

In the equestrian events, Harvey faced 47 other riders from all over the world but he said his toughest rivals came from the Old Dart.

Leading in, his plan was to stay focused and try to get on the podium but he far exceeded his own expectations by clinching the gold.

"I thought I may get a bronze but I ended up with gold," he said.

"I'm very proud of my achievements. It was an amazing experience."

Harvey's road to the Special Olympics was long and challenging.

He qualified 12 months ago after bagging gold, silver and bronze at the National Titles at Adelaide.

Prior to nationals, he had enlisted experienced Boyland equestrian trainer Russ Davidson to get him up to speed and the pair worked together right up to the Olympics following an intensive program tailored to Harvey's needs.

"The biggest thing we had to teach Nathan was to trust the horse to go to the fences because it has two good eyes," Davidson said.

Upon arrival at the games, with all that hard work behind him, Harvey reportedly told his mother he felt that just by being there, he had already won.

In the future, Harvey would like to develop an equestrian centre at North Maclean.

This story Aussie gold rush first appeared on Beaudesert Times.