Nearly four years ago I was lying in a hospital bed with an uncertain future ahead of me. The London Olympics and Paralympics were on TV, but they passed me by in a blur of operations, pain and frustration.

Today I have an exciting future ahead as one of the 11 on the long list for the Rio Paralympics with a stunning new horse on the scene (LJT Engaarrds Solitaire – more about him below) and bundles of support.

When I sat on Buster for the first time after my accident at Lakefield RDA with Mark and Becky, the first thing I said was “It’s the best feeling in the world”. I was back where I belonged and nothing had changed! It’s a strange feeling as when I’m on a horse is the only time I can forget about the challenges I’m facing in daily life.

The support that I’ve had from an incredible number of people is humbling and I am truly grateful for this. Pammy and Charlie Hutton have let me ride a horse in Abira that is unbelievably special in so many ways.

I honestly never thought I could enjoy life in the same way after my accident, it just wasn’t going to be the same. I was most definitely wrong and I now am a great believer in the fact that life really can change for the better.

Squad Training

A couple of weeks ago I was involved in the Podium World Class squad training at the Unicorn centre (picture top). It was an incredible couple of jam packed days, including absorbing lots of information about the logistics for Rio, including your personal hand hygiene!

The two days also consisted of catching up with the team doctor, psychologist, physio, nutritionist while the saddler, farrier, vet and equine physio spent time with Abira. Abira had an interesting assessment of his gait pattern were he had markers put on various areas of his body to analyse how level he is and if he’s putting weight in one leg more than the other.

Abira felt on form in both of his training sessions with Michel Assouline, and we have hopefully got a few tricks up our sleeves to help gain some extra marks at the final trial at Hartpury next week.

Meet the new kid on the block

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LJT Engaarrds Solitaire (aka Sid) is owned by the ‘Lady Joseph Trust’ and he is settling in really well at Talland. I am extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity to ride him and I’m really looking forward to getting him out and about!

Sid was previously ridden by Paralympic rider Ricky Balshaw, but Ricky has recently decided it’s time to hang up his boots and have a change of career. He is going to be hugely missed.

Sid has been feeling great and it’s just a question of having the time to get to know him properly — exciting times ahead!

Continued below…

Read more of Suzanne’s inspirational blogs:

A special trip home

Last week I made a very special trip home to Cornwall to see my family, friends and obviously my little terrier Tapi!

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I will never understand completely what I have put my family through during the past few years. They have had to sit waiting whilst I go through numerous operations and spent months in hospital. However, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the help, love and support they’ve given me.

I got home to find that my unbelievable parents had organised a surprise party for me. It was extremely special and lovely to share the excitement and achievement of making the paralympic long list with everyone there.

‘The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do’