herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

I was told I'd never walk, but I'm going to ride in Rio, reveals young Dubliner Emma

Emma Cahill (26) Para Dressage Rider from Ireland, currently on the High Performance Squad
Emma Cahill (26) Para Dressage Rider from Ireland, currently on the High Performance Squad
Emma Cahill (26) Para Dressage Rider from Ireland, currently on the High Performance Squad. Emma had a life altering accident 4 years ago when a horse flipped over and smashed her spine, damaging the spinal nerves. At the time she was told she would never walk again.
Emma Cahill (26) Para Dressage Rider from Ireland, currently on the High Performance Squad. Emma had a life altering accident 4 years ago when a horse flipped over and smashed her spine, damaging the spinal nerves. At the time she was told she would never walk again.

A brave Dublin woman who was told she would never walk again after a riding accident is battling to compete in the Paralympics.

Horse lover Emma Cahill (26) from Cabinteely suffered a spinal injury when a horse rolled on top of her four years ago.

Doctors told her she would be paralysed from the waist down.

But displaying an amazing fighting spirit and determination, she has managed to learn to walk again.

"When a horse flipped over and smashed my spine, damaging the spinal nerves ... I was told I'd never walk again," Emma said.

"Luckily, within about six weeks I got some feeling and movement in one thigh, implying the injury was incomplete, and I was able to build up some power in my legs over the 11 months I stayed in hospital," she said.

Her dream now is to represent Ireland in a dressage equestrian event at the Rio Paralympics.

Her positive attitude has already helped to earn her a place on Ireland's High Performance Squad.

Now she is trying to raise money through the PledgeSports.org website to fund her dream of competing for Ireland.

"I'm no stranger to hard work, but the training and discipline I've needed to make a dent in the para equestrian world have played a huge part in boosting my recovery from the accident," she said.

Positive

In her appeal for sponsorship to fund her bid to qualify for the European dressage championships in September, she stressess importance of remaining positive. "Impossible is truly a temporary state while you find a way to get around it," she said.

Emma is still paying off hospital bills - despite having already sold her jeep and adapted car. But she is grateful for help she has received so far, and hopes new funding might help her realise her Olympic dream of competing in Brazil.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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