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Dreams to Reality - Elite Para-Equestrian
 By Oak Valley   •   18th Oct 2010   •   2,295 views   •   3 comments
Some riders get their inspiration from Olympic riders, or top trainers, but mine comes from a girl at the barn I go to. Her name is Tara, and is twenty years old. What's so special about Tara you may ask? She has Cerebral Palsy, and is in a wheel chair. I really don't know what to say about her, but I will try my best.

Tara was born in October 1989, three months premature. Her birthday should have been January 1990. Being so premature her heart valve was open, and her lungs were closed. The doctors' at Children's Hospital saved her life, but for a while all wasn't great. She was on a ventilator, which was breathing for her, and her heart kept stopping.

At just a couple of weeks old she had a grade 4 brain hemorrhage, which caused her to have Cerebral Palsy.

One of her ventricles was filling up with cerebral fluid, and pushing her brain into the back of her head. She went into surgery to have a reservoir put in place to try, and drain out the extra fluid but when that wasn't enough, she went back into surgery, and had a shunt put in. Her parent were asked to take her off life support, and just let her die, as she only stood a 98% chance of being severely mentally, and physically disabled. They chose that 2% chance, and she, within a couple of months pulled out her own breathing tube, and was breathing on her own.

That was her first step into becoming the fighter she is today. She spent three months in the hospital, finally got to go home to her parents, and sister. During her first years there was a lot of therapy, both physical and occupational. Her life has not been without its ups, and downs. She has had surgery numerous times to correct the shunt as it breaks down every now and then, as well as other surgeries.

At the age of 5 she started disabled riding. When she moved she continued riding and in 2003 she met Lauren Barwick, a Para-Equestrian. That's when she realized that if she worked hard enough she could someday ride for Canada.

Elite Para-Equestrian

Elite Para-Equestrian
Photo credit: tarakowalski.com

Tara has been riding for 6 years seriously, 4 years ago she set out to become an Elite Para-Equestrian. She trains 3-4 days a week, using two different horses, and competes in as many Gold level shows she can. Her sights were set on being a part of the Canadian Para-Equestrian Team, and going to the Alltech FEI World Championships, and then in 2012 she wants to be in the Para Olympics in England.

Her dreams came a reality this year, she made it on the Para-Equestrian team, and was able to go to Kentucky. If that's not enough, when she graduated she finished with honors, and the "Most Inspirational Student" award. She has competed in track and field as part of the Canadian Track and Field Team in Connecticut 300, where she won three gold medals, and set two world records.

Tara has inspired me to keep going, even when the terrain gets tough. I hope after reading this you'll be inspired too, and remember when the going gets tough there's always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Visit Tara's Website

Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Oak Valley
Finally There  
Wow. That's an amazing story. Great job. :)
  Oct 18, 2010  •  1,435 views
 
Softball Girl  
Cool!!
  Oct 18, 2010  •  1,459 views
 
toffeelola  
this truly is an inspirational girl, at least even if the tunnel is long there is always a light at the end, and here is a quote you may want to tell her
"shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars"
and tell her she is an inspirational girl, I have lifelong dreams yet to fulfill, except, I don't have the patience to match,
but a beautiful article!
  Oct 19, 2010  •  1,454 views
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