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BLOG: The trip of a lifetime

Emma Booth - Jan Blog

When in Uruguay, hang up the dressage saddle and hop in a western saddle! I'm so thankful to Martin and Ana for letting me ride this incredible horse.


By Emma Booth

It’s nice to take time to reflect on adventures you have been on, things you have achieved or opportunities that have been offered to you. I thought it was a very appropriate time to reflect on all of the above, upon returning home from the trip of a lifetime. It’s not everyday the FEI fly you business class to the other side of the world, to a foreign country, to accept a meaningful, internationally recognised award.

When we left for the airport we knew it was going to be a long trip, but somehow you can never really prepare yourself for just how long. Three flights, two stopovers, many meals, over 30 hours in the plane, as well as minimal sleep – we finally arrived in Montevideo, Uruguay. I actually had to Google “Montevideo” to see exactly where this was, and to find out a little bit about what to expect when visiting this small country of South America.

The first thing we noticed was how incredibly nice, friendly, helpful and caring the people of Uruguay were. Everyone wanted to offer assistance where possible and the place had the most incredibly happy vibe - it was such a lovely place to stay. The amount of people who spoke English was less than I had expected, but this didn’t stop anyone from providing help. We went to a really authentic street market that gave us a perfect sense of the Country as well as its residents. We were still cautious with our bags and wallets etc, but not once did we feel unsafe or worried.


Emma Booth - Jan Blog

I got to be a COWGIRL and go for an incredible trail ride at Siunset Ranch, Hollywood. This absolutely amazing, gentle, kind old boy took the best care of me - Skip was so so gorgeous!

We also went on a guided tour of the ‘must see’ sights of Montevideo thanks to the FEI, which was very informative and interesting. It always helps when you have such an enthusiastic and passionate guide, as well as a small tour group to get the most out of it.

Now we get to the exciting part – the Awards Night! To say it’s a night I’ll never forget just doesn’t seem to cut it. It was much, much more than that. For me personally, it was extremely touching and overall a very emotional night. The FEI honestly did the most incredible job running the night and making the award winners feel extra special.

When I found out I won the ‘Against All Odds’ Award I was extremely honoured and humbled. I was obviously super proud and excited about our trip, however the enormity of this award didn’t hit me till on the night. When my name was announced and they played a short video of my story, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I started to tear up and then its like I couldn’t stop. I had tears running down my face and I couldn’t stop. They were mostly happy tears but I think I was also proud of what I had achieved. I don’t often think about it, I just do what I love, but in Uruguay I really came to realise what an accomplishment getting to Rio was.


Emma Booth - Jan Blog

Receiving the FEI award.

I wasn’t just happy or proud for myself, I think I was thankful to receive an award that, in my mind at least, was a reflection of all the hard work and support so many others had given me in order to achieve my goal of representing Australia at the Paralympics in Rio. Whether it was financial, emotional, or support from expertise in their fields, everyone helped made our journey a reality and there was no way I could ever thank all involved enough. And that’s maybe what made me more emotional than I expected – in my mind I perceived the award as being for everyone that supported me and not just myself. That’s probably why it meant and does mean so much to me.

There have been ups and downs along the way to where we are now, and no doubt there will be more, but I am so happy with all that my team and I have done, and I can’t say how much I truly appreciate how lucky I am to have such a talented and beautiful horse. Without him I wouldn’t have won this amazing award. He has changed my life for the better and I can’t thank him enough for showing me the light when I could only see dark.


Emma Booth - Jan Blog

Zidane, now recovered from colic surgery, was pleased to see us home!






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