Slide A Story Of The Human Spirit Courage. Hope. Resilience. Read My Story

Slide No matter what happens to you, you decide your future.
- Bea
Most people call me Bea. Donate for Tokyo Hi, my name is Beatrice. I am 21 years old. I grew up with two older brothers, and mom and dad who both worked, but I did have the advantage of growing up in France.

Mom loved horses so she taught us to love horses too. When I was born, my brothers were already playing a sport called Horse-Ball. It’s like basketball on ponies. By the time I was old enough to walk I started riding and when I was seven I started playing Horse-Ball too.

When I was 12 I started learning to ride properly and joined a team that did dressage and hunter seat equitation. I was a tall skinny kid so I looked pretty good and had fun.

Slide DeeDee I love sports. In middle school I ran track and field. I could beat most of the boys in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. I won a gold medal in high jump at a European championship. I played girls soccer and this was by far my favorite. When I got to high school I was the goalkeeper on the girls varsity team. Being tall and skinny really paid off.

By this time we were living in Brussels, Belgium. Dad had changed jobs, mom was writing, and the boys had moved back to the US to go to college. I wasn’t very happy. I missed my friends a lot. Then mom, who was trying to retrain a rescue horse, had a bad accident. Good-bye rescue horse. We loaned our stall to a friend and the sweetest white mare moved in (and I was allowed to ride her).

That was the start of my relationship with DeeDee. We just fit each other. She needed a girl to love, and I needed a best friend and a distraction from school. She was 11 when I met her for the first time. For the next two years she and I worked together to become a dressage couple.

Then, when I was 17, in March 2016, I was flying back to the USA for Easter/Spring break and things changed. I was standing in line at the Brussels Airport and a terrorist bomber – standing right next to me – altered my life’s direction.

Slide A New Journey Donate for Tokyo I spent four months in the ICU. Rehab was NOT fun but I had some good people around me. At about 5 months after the accident, my coach and my friend/groom/horsesitter brought DeeDee to see me at the rehab hospital. There are no real words to describe that day but it was the start of my new life. A few days later, my occupational therapist drove me to the stables. I was hoisted up onto DeeDee. Someone had to hold on to me, I had no muscle tone or control, but I knew I could do this.

That was the start of my journey. I can’t change what happened but I can succeed at being me. As I have said many times, “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. What else is there to say? There are no ‘what ifs’, I have a new life in front of me. What’s important is that I am alive and I feel I will do something grand with my life.”

Goals

When I was in the ICU, I set goals for myself. I have now achieved all my short-term goals.

  1. I went back to school 6 months after the accident. 
  2. I rode my first para-equestrian competition one year after the accident as an invited rider at France’s Haras de Jardy. 
  3. I graduated with my friends on time, and I stood and walked a few tiny steps to get my diploma.
  4. This was the big one: Represent my country as part of the USA Paralympic team in TOKYO!

Part of my recovery was thanks to Senator Bill Nelson in Florida and the Pentagon team, who arranged for me to have access to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego for my rehab. Wow. This was the real thing. The physical therapists and team there taught me how to get back in shape and be autonomous. 

While I was in San Diego,  my dad flew my DeeDee to me in California. I started training with Shayna Simon at Arroyo Del Mar towards my fourth goal. 

I’ve sort of put college on hold for the moment because getting myself and my horses qualified for an international event like the Paralympics takes a LOT of time and work. Shayna and I and all our horses are now training full time at our own high performance facility called Equidae Dressage Stables in Loxahatchee, Florida.

There have been some ups and downs since my accident, but I am doing the best I can. Whatever I do now, I know I have been given the opportunity to do something amazing with my life… and I am going to do it!

Next stop: Tokyo. After that, maybe the World Championship 2022 in Denmark, maybe Paris 2024… but my goal is to keep looking towards the future!

Goals

When I was in the ICU, I set goals for myself. I have now achieved all my short-term goals.

  1. I went back to school 6 months after the accident. 
  2. I rode my first para-equestrian competition one year after the accident as an invited rider at France’s Haras de Jardy. 
  3. I graduated with my friends on time, and I stood and walked a few tiny steps to get my diploma.
  4. This was the big one: Represent my country as part of the USA Paralympic team in TOKYO!

Part of my recovery was thanks to Senator Bill Nelson in Florida and the Pentagon team, who arranged for me to have access to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego for my rehab. Wow. This was the real thing. The physical therapists and team there taught me how to get back in shape and be autonomous. 

While I was in San Diego,  my dad flew my DeeDee to me in California. I started training with Shayna Simon at Arroyo Del Mar towards my fourth goal. 

I’ve sort of put college on hold for the moment because getting myself and my horses qualified for an international event like the Paralympics takes a LOT of time and work. Shayna and I and all our horses are now training full time at our own high performance facility called Equidae Dressage Stables in Loxahatchee, Florida.

There have been some ups and downs since my accident, but I am doing the best I can. Whatever I do now, I know I have been given the opportunity to do something amazing with my life… and I am going to do it!

Next stop: Tokyo. After that, maybe the World Championship 2022 in Denmark, maybe Paris 2024… but my goal is to keep looking towards the future!