Rixt van der Horst

Rixt van der Horst is a multiple Paralympic, world and European medal-winning Dutch grade III para dressage rider.

She is a key member of the Dutch squad and has come home with a full-house of three medals from every senior championships she has contested.

Rixt and her twin brother Brend were born 10 weeks early in 1992. A lack of oxygen at birth means Rixt lives with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebal palsy. She was diagnosed with emphysema at three weeks old, resulting in an operation in which part of her lung was removed and has left her with asthma. Rixt also has a rare kidney disease, scoliosis and Parry-Romberg syndrome.

She started riding at the age of five as part of her physiotherapy, which has led to her glittering career in the saddle.

Her senior championship debut came at the 2014 World Equestrian Games (WEG) aboard Uniek, by Gribaldi out of a driving mare. The combination won individual and freestyle gold and helped the Dutch side to team silver, repeating their medal tally at the 2015 Europeans.

Rixt’s first Paralympic Games was at Rio 2016, where she rode another Gribaldi offspring – a mare named Caraat. The pair took freestyle silver along with individual and team bronze.

Her current top ride is Lisa Sanders’ Belissimo M mare Findsley NOP, with whom she successfully defended her individual world titles, winning triple gold at WEG 2018. The pair added two silver medals (individual and freestyle) and the team title to their CV at the 2019 Europeans in Rotterdam. They head to the Tokyo Paralympics with gold medals as their target.