EQ Life Masthead - 2019
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Meet para dressage rider Kaye Hannan!

Kaye Hannah and Bradgate Park Wexford. © Bill Hamilton

Kaye Hannah and Bradgate Park Wexford.

© Bill Hamilton

 

Kaye started riding at the age of 6 in the UK, a child of non-horsey parents – but still her love of horses and doing all for her horses has not changed in principle her entire life.

At 26 in Australia, Kaye started back competitive riding and so became obsessed again with her dressage and ODE (One Day Event) competitions.

Now 63, Kaye’s passion has never faltered, nor has her thirst to improve and assist others on their own journeys; from RDA or privately, Kaye loves to see her riders improve, have fun and keep their horses as happy athletes.

Kaye was severely injured in 2006 when she bent over and herniated 5 disks, this was when the degenerative condition was discovered. After a massive spinal surgery and 13 month recovery – including learning how to walk again, she started back riding. Her coach, Pip Tonkin, watched as she struggled with her body and finally approached Kaye and suggested Para Equestrian Classification. This is open to anyone who has disabilities that hamper their physical riding. Kaye was classified as a para equestrian in 2011, as a Grade IV rider. She has competed in the UK at Hartpury twice on borrowed horses, and in Hong Kong in 2012 on the Australian Team, winning her grade and being crowned grade champion.

Kaye is now on her quest to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and she is currently long listed for this event.

Kaye works full time for ZebraVet Australia, looking after half of NSW down to the Victorian boarder and up to the middle of Sydney. Her territory also includes all of ACT – this would not be possible without her husband Bill, who keeps everything ticking along at home, from ferrying the horses for shoes, to cooking, washing and ironing, Bill keeps it all together.

Kaye’s team include Bill (husband), Judy Fasher her coach, and Mark and Debbie Eisenhower, who generously allow Kaye to train in their wonderful facilities just 6km away from her front door.

Nothing goes unnoticed, from feeding to electrolytes and specialist farrier work, to Kaye’s Physio — Steve Guilleri from Beecroft Physio — who keeps a keen eye on her as well. The team is solid and committed!

Kaye can on occasion not even walk, or has such severe cramping and nerve pain that she is bed ridden; her degenerative spinal condition means chronic nerve pain can attach at any time from a toe to an entire limb. The electric scooter is often used to whizz around when the limbs are not cooperating.

Chronic arthritis has also encumbered Kaye limbs as much as the spinal degeneration and fibromyalgia. Is a juggling act; and yes she is often asked “do you think you should still ride?” The answer in her soul is always a firm YES!

Many people have disabilities – concentrate on what you can do, there is always a choice.

Kaye has been awarded many medals and accolades for her work with others who have disabilities, and she is a great ambassador for her sport. We wish her all the best on her horse Bradgate Park Wexford aka ‘Wally’, who has a strong fan club in NSW and QLD!

Kaye is currently second on the Equestrian Life Para Dressage Leaderboard, a fantastic initiative from Equestrian Australia.

 

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