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Back in the saddle

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Kelly Frost on Chance E, an athlete horse at Equine Pathways Australia. Photo - supplied

By Meg Kennedy

An old saying states if you get bucked off the horse you must get back on; Kelly Frost has done just that. However, it was not a horse that caused her to become a paraplegic.
It wasn’t a Good Friday for Ms Frost 19-years ago, her life changed forever on that superstitious Friday 13.
The Gordon resident, 15-years-old at the time, was seriously injured in a head-on car collision along Gisborne Rd Coimadai.
But that wasn’t the end of her journey.
In 2016, Ms Frost discovered she had an aneurysm near her heart.
A stent was put in, which later blocked and cut off all blood supply to her waist, causing a major heart attack and a heart condition.
This resulted in Ms Frost becoming a T10 incomplete paraplegic, with just a two percent chance of regaining anymore movement in her legs.
“The physios told me they think [I can regain movement], but the doctors told me no…that there’s a two percent chance of regaining anything more than what I left rehab with,” she said.
“I’ve gained more since I’ve left rehab, but…it’s just work, work, work and see what we can get.”
Having always grown up around horses, Ms Frost was determined to ride again.
This led her to Equine Pathways Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that works towards getting people with muscular and strength issues back into riding.
“I’ve been thinking of returning to riding, just as a pleasure thing, and I was put onto Julia at Equine Pathways Australia,” she said.
After some time back in the saddle, Ms Frost has set her sight at representing Australia in the 2022 World Equestrian Games in Denmark.
In preparation for the event, Ms Frost explained she will be doing some local events this year, but needs to be classified before she can compete.
The level system for para-equestrian riders ranges from Grade 1 up to Grade 5 – the latter being a walk-only test, to a ‘Grand Prix’ level riding style in the former.
Ms Frost said she is looking at competing in Grade 3, which involves a walk, trot, lateral work and canter.
As for why horse riding is so important to her, Ms Frost said it “gives me something to do every day and get out of bed.”
She trains regularly with well-known riders, including Paralympic gold medallist Joann Formosa, and could soon be competing against Australian Paralympic rider Emma Booth.
“Obviously I enjoy it, it’s my hobby. I’ve got four kids and they’re all school-aged, so now that I’m not able to work as much as I used to be able to…I just need something else to keep me occupied, so I enjoy it a lot,” she said.
Even after everything she’s been through, Ms Frost believes that if it were a different outcome, she would not be in the position she is now.
“If it was a different situation, I would never have done it. I don’t think I would be where I’m at,” she said.