A NEAR-FATAL accident has not stopped a Warwick horse rider getting back in the saddle – and now she wants to compete in the Paralympics.
Ruth MacCarthy fell from her horse in 2004 and was left with permanent nerve damage after her horse landed on top of her.
The 29-year-old spent months in hospital receiving treatment to help her become more mobile.
But after several operations and a steady return to riding, Ruth has made it through to the UK Para National Championships – the next step towards being selected for the Great Britain team to compete in the 2020 Olympics.
The paralegal – who works at Leamington solicitors Wright Hassall – said: “My fall was absolutely terrifying but the accident really changed my perspective and understanding for equestrianism and helped me to be a much more compassionate rider.
“Learning to deal with the pain has made me the person I am today and has given me the strength and determination to focus my goal on competing in the Paralympics.”
Ruth and her six-year-old horse William Wombat will be intensely training until March 2015, when they will compete against Paralympian stars Lee Pearson, Natasha Baker and Sophie Wells.
But the strong-willed rider – who already has a busy schedule planning her wedding on December 23 – is hopeful of her chances.
She said: “My horse William is very young and inexperienced, I have only had him for a year so for him to have qualified for these championships is a phenomenal achievement.
“I am really looking forward to the championships and competing against the elite riders in the sport. The fact that some of the competitors are medal winning Paralympians puts our achievement into context and we will be going all out to put in our best performance.”
The sporty duo are planning to train hard for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo rather than the next Olympics in Rio in 2016 due to William’s lack of competition experience.
Ruth is sponsored by Safe Ride Saddlery who create adapted saddles for her disability but due to the cost of events is looking for further sponsorship.
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