"It is amazing to compete with a partner and achieve something together. The horse is the best compensating aid that I can think of and it is just so much fun to see how Para dressage develops over the time and how we grow together."
Angelika Trabert’s appearance in September’s World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon, USA, will end a three-year break from major championships.
The German grade III rider, who works as an anesthetist, has competed at the top level for 27 years, and Paralympic.org caught up with her before the competition begins 18 September.
Paralympic.org: How did you get into riding?
At the age of six I decided that I wanted to ride a horse. I was inspired by the American Indians and loved the freedom on the horse, so I started with pony riding without a saddle on a little carpet.
What was your first serious competition and how did you do?
My first really serious competition was the second World Championships in Denmark in 1991. I competed on borrowed horses, as we did in those days and came second. With the team we won the gold medal - the only time that another country besides the UK won gold.
What do you most love about your sport?
It is amazing to compete with a partner and achieve something together. The horse is the best compensating aid that I can think of and it is just so much fun to see how Para dressage develops over the time and how we grow together. I also just love the big family of Para dressage and all the people I have known for so many years.
What do you find most challenging?
Most challenging for me is to make time and find room to improve and train with my horse besides my family and my work.
What are your hopes for WEG 2018?
My hopes are to continue at the level where I was when I had to stop in 2014, after my horse, Ariva Avanti, injured herself on the way to France for the Games.
Can you tell us about your new horse, Diamonds Shine?
Diamonds Shine is an eight-year-old gelding and the best horse I have ever been able to ride. I am very thankful to Anna Nolte, the owner, for giving me this great opportunity. He is quite a character. If he doesn't know you he dislikes being touched by you immediately. He’s also a bit introverted, has great paces but can be challenging to get everything out of. He needs to have fun in what he is doing. But he’s my dream- and-soul horse.
What is been your career highlight so far?
There have been many, but I think the greatest highlight is that I have been able to bring several horses up to the top and compete and succeed with them in European, Worlds and Paralympic championships with over 20 medals in total. One of the biggest highlights was winning the gold medal in the freestyle in 2010 in Kentucky with, at that point the seven-year- old Ariva Avanti, by just 0.05 per cent
How do you juggle riding and work?
The logistics of my riding career, my work, my family and all the other projects, like my charity "SUNDJATA" for handicapped children in Guinea is the most difficult thing. I need good organising skills, the ability to improvise and a super team around me to manage everything. But this is what I want and what I love so it does not feel like stress.
If you could have dinner with anyone - living or passed - who would you like to eat with?
My late fiancé Marc Coumans and Ann Kern-Godal (who was a key supporter of Norway’s Para dressage team) both passed away tragically, way too early and were role models and true inspirations to me.
What five words best describe you?
Reliable, honest, spontaneous, positive-thinking, organising talent.