BIOGRAPHY

Diana on her first pony, Panache

Diana on her first pony, Panache

Diana first began riding when she was seven and initially shared riding lessons with her sister at a local riding school. She showed early promise and joined the Eridge Pony Club where she was soon regularly competing on all the teams. She remained a member all through her teens and has many happy memories from this time. Not only did her skill as a rider progress, so did her knowledge of stable management. This culminated in her being one of very few to achieve her Pony Club A-test.

Diana’s passion for all things equestrian is clear and her first love was eventing. On leaving school she worked at competition yards across the south-east before becoming self-employed. During this time she trained and competed her own horse up to advanced level – the highest standard of competition available under national rules.

However, in 2007, at the age of 25, Diana contracted meningococcal septicaemia. She was in intensive care for three months followed by a much longer period of rehabilitation. Diana is now a bilateral below knee amputee and is missing fingers from both hands.

With typical determination she learnt to walk again on her new prosthetic legs then, of course, got back on her horse. Her new disabilities took quite a bit of adjusting to and she now rides with a specially designed hand prosthetic so she can hold the reins. She has also made the transition from eventing to dressage since eventing is not a Paralympic sport. She competes at Grade III in para competitions and also in able-bodied competitions.

Diana on her advanced horse, Harry

Diana on her advanced horse, Harry

As part of her recovery from meningitis Diana has also learnt to ski and to run on prosthetic blades. She has a natural talent for many sports and an interest in all of them. This and her in depth knowledge of dressage led to her earning a place on Channel 4’s team of reporters working on the London 2012 Paralympics. This was obviously the most incredible experience and means she is now even more focused on her goal of competing herself in 2016.

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