I began riding when I was young, and owned a horse throughout high school. After University, I was in a vehicle roll-over when I was 23 in 1996. I was coming back from a trip to Central America. We flew to Costa Rica, and bused back up.
After I had been in a coma for 6 months, and had been in a rehabilitation hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania for 2 years I started riding at CARD(Community Association for the Riding Disabled) in Toronto. I met someone who I bought my first horse after the accident from. I took her to my first International show at WindReach near Toronto.
I met Lauren Barwick there who was a gold medalist at the Bei Jing Paralympics. She invited me to go train with her in Ocala, Florida. She found me my 2012 Paralympic horse named Inspector Rebus. He is the best horse in the world, next to Lieutenant Lobin, and he took care of me, and got me to the 2012 Paralympics in London, England.
Unfortunately after that he developed Cushing’s Disease. He was not allowed to compete on his medication, and it would be cruel to try. I had been training in Wellington, Florida with my coach named Jessica Rhinelander in the winters in Florida since 2013. She helped me get my next horse from a dealer in Wellington, Florida in 2015. He is also the best horse in the World! Unfortunately on the way home he fractured his coffin bone, so he was not ready for the Paralympics in Rio. He, being the super star that he is, was all ready for WEG in Tryon in 2018. He was a super star as usual.
There were no shows, and the 2020 Paralympics were postponed until 2021. There weren’t any shows before the Paralympics in Tokyo. So I went to other barns to ride, and did heat training for my horse and myself before we left.
We went to Aachen, Germany for three weeks before we left for Tokyo. We trained 6 days per week. My coach trained him 2 days. We weren’t allowed to see anything, but the stable and the hotel. We were allowed to go out for dinner once, to the grocery store twice, and we were allowed to go for walks.
After Tokyo things improved a lot in terms of COVID. I went to competitions in Florida, and Ottawa, and did really well! I qualified for Denmark! I think Denmark was a bit of a shock to my system. I had done lots of eye therapy, and I was ready to do well, because I had been to lots of shows, and I put a lot of pressure on myself. There were also spectators, and which Lobin was very aware of.
The combination of my lowered confidence, and Lobin being distracted led to a much lower score than we had hoped.
We are looking forward to the next Paralympics in Paris!