After going through much rehab and not seeing any progress, I began to get frustrated. I wanted to get stronger, regain more mobility, coordination, and just be able to go outside in the fresh air and have fun. From my years of teaching special education I knew a number of my students had used horse therapy for various reasons. I didn’t grow up around horses, but I felt like this was something I had to take advantage of. The movement and sensory input from the horse can be used to address posture, balance, sensory integration, coordination, communication and mobility in people with disabilities. Once I started, I saw so many changes emotionally and physically, and I kept wanting to be challenged.
Being on my horse was somewhere that I felt free. You never know what can happen in life, how quickly things can change; but it's important to always pursue those things that make you happy and fulfilled. This was something that I found gave me back my life, my spirit.
I started learning more about dressage and the sport of para-dressage. Dressage is a competitive equestrian sport, defined by the International Equestrian Federation as "the highest expression of horse training", where "horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements." It is occasionally referred to as "Horse Ballet". Para-dressage is currently the only equestrian discipline in the Paralympic Games. It was introduced in 1996 and it became a part of the World Equestrian games in 2010.
I am training at Sara Schmitt Dressage with Sara Schmitt and my 14 year old Dutch Riding Pony, El Paso. Sara is challenging us in areas we need to improve, while we work on forming a special bond together. Everyone at Sara Schmitt Dressage is truly supportive of our goals. It's a wonderful place to learn and grow.
Everyone at the barn, in the Para-dressage community, my family, and friends have been so supportive. I can't wait to pair up with El Paso and show everyone what we can do as we work towards the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
I'm working to raise the funds needed for training, transportation, equipment, and entry fees.
To make a tax deductible donation click here: Southern California Equestrian Sports Alanna Flax-Clark
If you or anyone you know would like to support in a fundraising event or sponsorship, please contact me!