Rio 2016 Para-Equestion Debutantes...
Extract from "THE LAND ONLINE"
By: BRONWYN FARR 16 Aug 2016, 4:45 a.m.
Riding towards the Rio games
Australia's equestrian team for the Rio Paralympics is looking to continue the country’s success in the event, despite the team including three debutantes.
Lisa Martin sponsored by Kool Glow, , Scone; Katie Umback, Bega; and Emma Booth, Victoria will join Beijing 2008 Paralympian Sharon Jarvis, from Western Australia.
Ms Martin, 44 sustained an injury 16 years ago when she fell from a young horse, resulting in her tibia crushing into the bottom of her foot. Six weeks after the original injury and after operations to insert steel supports, Lisa slipped and fell, damaging her leg again. After several procedures, her leg was saved however her Achilles tendon “does not work at all”, and she has less than 15 per cent use of the joint.
“It feels unbelievable to have been selected to represent Australia at the Paralympic Games,” Ms Martin said.
“Looking at the grade four riders in Europe and overseas, I am just amazed.
“I was blown away, I could not believe the quality of the horses and riders that were competing.”
Fellow Rio debutante Katie Umback, 43, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago, but the DJ and audio engineer has been a horse lover all her life.
Riding at pony club from age five, and dressage from age seven, Ms Umback was a keen event rider, until a serious fall on cross country ended her jumping and eventing career. She switched focus to dressage and show horses, and breaking-in, re-educating and training green horses.
When she was diagnosed with MS she was told she would lose the ability to walk and would not ride again.
Ms Umback undertook years of chemotherapy and several rounds of autoimmune medications before deciding it was time to get some normality back in her life and start riding horses again.
“Because I have 70 per cent of my body in numbness, partial numbness and a significant loss of strength in my limbs, my body didn’t work like it used to. It was a frustrating struggle for the first 12 months, but since I have learned how to improvise with my disabilities, I haven’t looked back.”
After a gruelling year pushing herself in the saddle, Ms Umback set herself the goal Paralympic dressage.
“Making it to the pinnacle of my sport has been a dream since I first began riding. A future being as able as I am is uncertain; it means a lot to me to achieve my goals before my disease catches up to me.”