Sanne Voets is one of the world’s leading para dressage riders.
Sanne Voets and Demantur NOP at the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
The Dutch grade IV rider, born in 1986, was born with a condition which weakens her legs and affects her other joints. In 2001, she was trapped under a horse in a fall. Sanne was advised that the injuries she sustained, on top of her pre-existing condition, meant that riding “would no longer be wise”.
But Sanne fought back and has gone on to achieve top results on the world stage. She won freestyle bronze on her senior championship debut at the 2011 Europeans with Vedet PB and the pair contested their first Paralympic Games the following year at London 2012, finishing fourth and fifth in the freestyle and individual competitions.
The combination went on to add numerous world and European gold and silver medals to their glittering collection over the next three years. They also competed at prix st georges in able-bodied classes.
Sanne’s current top ride is Demantur RS2 NOP (Vivaldi x Elcaro). The pair already have a Paralympic freestyle gold to their name, which they won at Rio 2016 with their performance to Dutch dance star Armin van Buuren’s “This is what it feels like”.
They went on to top the individual and freestyle classes at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and 2019 Europeans, and were on the winning team on both occasions. The combination now head to Tokyo aiming for the elusive “triple-triple” of consecutive championship gold medals.
In 2016, Sanne became the first para athlete to win the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation’s rider of the year award. She was also named Knight of the Order of the Orange-Nassau the same year, in recognition of her Rio 2016 gold medal, and has won a host of other accolades.
Outside horse sport, Sanne holds a language masters degree from Utrecht University, specialising in communication. She is also a freelance copywriter and speaker.