When I became a part of the disability community, I knew nothing about the community that I was thrown into. I knew nothing about what living life in a wheelchair would be like, though my first thoughts of what life would be like were pretty bleak and nothing like what my life currently is. At first I thought that my future would be filled with limitations and many things I could no longer do because of my disability. But after all these years I wonder why I didn’t see all th
A couple weeks ago Royal and I moved barns. I'm grateful for what I learned at Lehua Custer Dressage and the strong, confident rider I've become, but it was time to move on and further our training.
Royal got settled in on his first day here. He was welcomed by Cesar, his awesome new groom, who helped get him acclimated with everything. Cesar has given both of us nothing but the best treatment since we've been here. If I'm not at the barn, I know that Royal is going on wal
Earlier this week I was honored to be awarded a grant by a wonderful organization called Ralph's Riders. Ralph's Riders was founded by Mayra Fornos in honor of her late husband Ralph who suffered a spinal cord injury soon after they were married. Undeterred by his injury and facing enormous obstacles, Ralph was determined to conquer his injury and make the world a better place. Ralph and Mayra even obtained their law degrees together and opened the law offices of Fornos & As
Some of you may have noticed that I am now a Grade II instead of a Grade 1b. The FEI recently announced changes to the Para-Dressage Grade names in addition to new FEI Para-Equestrian Dressage Tests. The new Para-Dressage Grade names will not change a riders classification they are strictly name changes. Grade 1a is now Grade I; Grade 1b is now called Grade II; Grade II is Grade III; Grade III is Grade IV; Grade IV is Grade V; and Grade V is Grade VI. If you're interested in
A couple weeks ago I traveled to the North Texas Equestrian Center run by our Chef d'Equipe, Kai Handt. I attended a Para Dressage Clinic with Olympic, WEG, and European Para Dressage Medal Winning Trainer David Amager. Head officials from the U.S. Para Equestrian Association, U.S. Equestrian Federation, and the U.S. Olympic Committee were also in attendance.
The clinic was beneficial in so many ways. I was loaned a lovely mare named Touche to ride for the duration of the
The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio was the first time that some of the games were broadcast live on network television in the United States. It was also the first time that mainstream society saw the disabled community for all the things we CAN do, not for what we can’t. Oftentimes, the disability community receives widespread attention during telethons, campaigns for medical research, or on the news when there’s some random act of kindness performed. In light of this exposure
Over the last couple of years I have grown so much physically, emotionally, and personally. I know I can conquer anything thrown my way with grace and dignity, and will succeed. This has been a big change for me, but a lesson that the horses have helped me learn as they truly accept me for who I am. With years of being made to feel insecure, less than, afraid by doctors and in the hospitals, I often detached from people and avoided certain situations. Having your body cha
Last week I was invited to live with dressage trainer Linda Fritsch at her farm in South Bend, Indiana for an intensive training. Coming to a new trainer and living in an unfamiliar place can leave you with mixed emotions, but Linda and her husband Ernie immediately welcomed me into their home. The first day we immediately got to work getting to know her Dutch Warmblood, Timon. Timon was so gentle and willing to carry me so I could focus on everything Linda was teaching. Lin
I've been so busy with the arrival of Royal that I forgot to update you all on third part of my documentary series from The Happiness Stories. The Happiness Stories is a video series designed to look into the lives of many people who struggle every day with unrelenting disease & illness. Ron tries to see what everyone has in common. The Happiness Stories aims to share the stories of many to inspire, to raise awareness, and to give the world a reason to smile. Here's the link
The other day my beautiful Real Erbeo, Royal, arrived at the airport after a long journey from New York. Real means Royal in Portuguese, and I was lucky enough to meet him last month when I was in Pennsylvania. Lehua, Bryce, and I flew to the East Coast to meet Lehua's new baby Fortunate H2O and help with his Oldenburg inspection. Fortunato's breeder, Kendra, is a generous lady and asked her friends if they knew of any horses that would be a good match for me. Molly stepped