When I was in the ICU, I set goals for myself. I have now achieved all my short-term goals.
- I went back to school 6 months after the accident.
- I rode my first para-equestrian competition one year after the accident as an invited rider at France’s Haras de Jardy.
- I graduated with my friends on time, and I stood and walked a few tiny steps to get my diploma.
- 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!