Béatrice de Lavalette props her foot atop a tack trunk and pulls a white-handled Allen wrench from a small bag. Pulling down her sock and lifting the skin-toned suction liner, she exposes several small set screws, inserts the wrench, and makes a few turns. Her custom riding boots have yet to arrive, so she’s riding in sneaker-clad prosthetic feet, adjusting the angle to fit her stirrups.
It’s all part of the 19-year-old’s “new normal” since she nearly lost her life in a 2016 terrorist attack in Belgium that killed 32 people and injured hundreds more. Unable to save her badly injured legs, doctors amputated both just below the knee.
These days, she gets around mostly by wheelchair and needs someone to lift her up on her horse, but de Lavalette refuses to let “the accident,” as she calls it, plunge her into bitterness or fear. She’s charting her own path and using her experiences to fuel her dream of competing on the U.S. para-dressage team at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.
Sanchez, K. (2018, August 20 & 27). Béatrice de Lavalette Is Standing Tall. The Chronicle of the Horse. https://read.uberflip.com/i/1014557-august-20-27-2018/39?
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