• Alanna Flax-Clark

Bigger and Better in the New Year



As 2015 is drawing to a close I look back and can’t believe what a year of growth and discovery it has been.

In this society we put so much emphasis on one’s career to define who we are as a person. One’s occupation and education gives one a sense of worth, value, and identity. When I became sick a number of years back, my occupation was torn from me. No longer did I get up each morning to teach my kids, work on lesson plans, do home visits, and come home on the weekends to work on progress reports and IEPs and then spend time with friends. I had to give up so much of the life I knew and had built up for myself, including moving out of my home.

I spent my days going to doctor appointments, therapies, traveling across the country for rehab, and some days unable to get out of bed. At this time my job was to be a Professional Patient, but personally I felt I needed something more to focus my energy elsewhere. Yes, being a full-time patient is A LOT of work, staying busy with the management of my healthcare and well-being; you have to work long hours to stay on top of everything! It just wasn’t fulfilling for me, though I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be.


This is the first year where I’ve gained more independence and identity through my work and pursuits. It started off with finally getting medical clearance to drive again and getting set up with hand controls. I’ve even embraced my minivan and come to love all the space. While friends and family were great with giving me rides, there’s nothing like being able to jump in my car and leave whenever I want! I am finally in charge! Since I no longer have to rely on someone for rides, I was finally able to make my own decision to pursue more focused training for para dressage. I never would have been able to do this if I didn’t have my license at this time. The switch to the new barn has opened up an entirely new world and has made me stronger physically and emotionally. I’ve had the chance to travel and work with some talented clinicians and meet very gifted riders. Training at the equestrian center around such talent makes me feel less of a patient, and see more of my capabilities and worth and strive to want more.


I’m completely outgoing and will try anything at least once. I love that I went to a random audition that a friend told me about and booked a national commercial on a whim. I’ve come to love my time in front of the camera, a completely different person than a few years ago!

Along with this I still stay busy with work, mentoring, and of course managing my health. However, this year my well-being has been at the forefront. I finally see more of a purpose and value in my life. I’m not just going to appointments each day, but rather do things that make me happy with a focused goal that I’ve set.


I can’t wait to see what exciting adventures 2016 bring. I really can’t thank all the people who have helped make this year so memorable for me. Some of you didn’t know me before, but know that this year has been one of big change—it’s only going to get better!

#newyear #paradressage #paraequestrian #wheelchair #passion #grateful #teamalanna #alannaflaxclark

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© 2016 by Alanna Flax-Clark 

Califon, NJ, USA

Contact: aflaxclark@gmail.com 

U.S. ParaEquestrian