Tales from Tryon: ‘This horse has given my life purpose and meaning again’

Witnessing the bond between Australia’s Emma Booth and her 16-year-old Danish warmblood gelding Mogelvangs Zidane is quite special.

The pair finished just outside the World Equestrian Games grade III individual medals in fourth, but the feeling Zidane gave Emma during their test was worth the huge effort involved in shipping him all the way from Australia to Tryon in North Carolina.

“I’m so stoked with how he went; he was focused and with me every step of the way,” said Emma, 27. “His willingness to work and to please is incredible and his cheeky personality makes the job really fun.”

As well as bringing her success on the world stage, the Blue Hors Hertug son Zidane, has also played a huge role in helping the former eventer regain her life after a horrific car accident in 2013, that left her paraplegic after devastating spinal cord damage.

“I was a passenger in the horse float on our way home from an event when we had the accident, which killed both the horses we had in the back,” remembers Emma. “It was a pretty horrific experience.

“But I just knew straightaway that I wanted to get back to riding. Two weeks after the accident I started googling the Paralympics in Rio, and I made that my goal.”

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It was finding Zidane, sourced by her trainer, that made the Rio dream a reality for Emma, and since finishing fifth individually there, the partnership has gone from strength to strength.

“Zidane played a huge part in my road to recovery after the accident, helping me get my life back on track and giving it purpose and meaning again,” says Emma, with tears in her eyes.

“I can’t thank everyone who has helped us get here enough WEG has been a great experience — I’ve loved having the chance to ride with all the other Aussies here, including the eventers! The whole thing is a pretty amazing turn of events.”

Horse & Hound has two journalists and a photographer in Tryon for WEG. Keep up to date with all the news on horseandhound.co.uk and in the magazine issues dated 20 and 27 September.

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