Ever since I started riding, I fell in love with it. The animal, the people, the benefits and the emotional and physical therapy that it provides. I always knew that one day I would own a horse, I just never imagined it would happen like this.
When I was born, there were complications. I was stuck in the birth canal for too long. I was blue and not breathing. They worked on me and then a started breathing on my own. I went by ambulance to Grande Prairie the next morning where I was admitted to ICU. I had seizures- hundreds of them. there was bleeding and swelling on my brain and my EEG was abnormal. The next day I was air ambulanced to the Neo Natal at the U of A Hospital. I stayed in ICU until they stabilized the seizures and did further testing. A while later, I was diagnosed with Spastic Quadrapelegic Cerebral Palsy with Athetosis (which is uncontrolled movement) and Ataxia (which is balance).
When we met with several doctors throughout my stay at U of A, they told my parents that I was going to be severely mentally and physically disabled; that I would not walk or talk, or even feed myself. Much less ride a horse
I started riding when I was 5 years old in Slave Lake, Alberta. I had a leader hooked up to the horse, and two side walkers on either side of me. My core was not very strong at this point, so I couldn’t hold myself up. Therefore, my side walkers held my belt and every time I would start to fall over, we would stop the horse, and they would sit me up again and we would continue on our way. When we moved to Grande Prairie, we found Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS). With time and practice I got stronger. The help I needed slowly diminished and since 2012 I am riding independently.
My competitive career started in 2012 with video competitions offered by Equine Canada and through an organization called PARDS or Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society. To get to where I am today took time, hard word, guts and some amazing people and horses. Two years ago, I expressed interest in competing at a live dressage show, but first I needed a new horse to take me there.
This is the start of Manny and I’s crazy adventure. Thank you to everybody who helped me get to where I am today with a fancy dressage horse of my very own!
Hold on because this will be a crazy ride– for all of us!