Inspiration from a challenged world equestrian competitor

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It can be easy to get discouraged when dealing with personal challenges. We tend to make all kinds of excuses for not going to the barn, rushing through chores, abdicating horse care to another or depriving ourselves of other moments to enjoy our horse.

Our daily grind can get in the way of what fuels our soul.

What would you do with your horse passion if you found yourself suddenly paralyzed? Diane Kastama decided to add wheels so she could continue. She competes world-wide at FEI events with combined driving (modeled after 3-day eventing).

As a former dressage rider, she tried going back to riding first, but kept falling off.

Now, she’s internationally recognized for her skills at a sport where she’s competing against able bodied riders. She’s won world championship medals, including individual silver and team bronze as well as a gold medal and more. Can you imagine being so determined and resilient to start a new discipline you’d never tried while confined to a wheel chair?

She drove her first horse in 1995 – after a paralyzing car accident. Then, began combined driving competition in 1999. By 2002 she was on the world stage competing at top levels.

Susan Ashbrook with Equine VIP did a recent interview with this remarkable woman. This video (just under 9 minutes) is so worth the watch. If you’re thinking your challenges are tough, imagine dealing with hers and maintaining such a positive attitude, then achieving world-wide competitor status.

Oh, and if you’re looking for some creative ideas on how you can design a job that keeps horses in the mix, we have a lot of free material in addition to some products you may like in our Inventing Your Horse Career section of this website.

Nanette Levin


Nanette Levin is a writer, author and equestrian specializing in young horse training and horses with issues. Look for Horse Sense & Cents titles on Amazon, Audible and other major online retailers.

6 thoughts on “Inspiration from a challenged world equestrian competitor

  1. As someone who is scared s–tless about driving even a common Meadowbrook cart (I’ll accompany a driver if the horse is also one I know well) you would never catch me even contemplating combined driving–and even less as a “para”. This gal is really gutsy, not to mention incredibly resourceful.

  2. I was so amazed and inspired by her story, Alli. What a gusty woman! I’m like you – I find myself feeling more vulnerable being behind a horse than atop. She deserves tons of credit for being so determined, inventive and dedicated to have achieved world competitor status (in a very short time period) in spite of her challenge.

  3. Thank you go creating this Blog
    You are an inspiration after reading through your blog!
    I’m sure your Blog has inspired many.
    I’m hoping to become more acquainted with meeting new friends on your Blog.
    I also am not real good when it comes to finding my way around the internet.
    There’s so much to learn on this subject alone!
    Being with autoimmune disorders is a real challenge on its own which is what I’m caused daily let alone suffering from a variety of symptoms that are related to autoimmune disorder.
    I do have a horse of my own.
    This is what led me to your Blog, the fact of having to be in a disability low income and affording my best friend.
    Thank you for all the information.
    Hoping to find a way to be able to continue with my horse now that I’ve found you.
    I was believing I may need to sell him, find him a new home 🙁
    I just looked at the you tube interview with Diane awesome story!
    I’m hoping to meet people like her.
    She also is very inspiring

    • Thanks for stopping by, checking out the blog and leaving a comment, Sharlyn. I’m glad you found Diane’s story inspiring. I did too.

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