Lily's story has been retold many times since that fateful day when a fun filled afternoon with friends quickly turned into a near tragic event. What inspired us the most about Lily is that she has never let that moment define or limit her. What does define her is her infectious attitude, abundance of gratitude and her love of horses. All qualities that contribute to her well-deserved role model status. Lily's goal of stepping onto the International podium has only become closer as she and her trusty steed Charlie advance through the levels. As we follow her journey, the following quote from Mulan (Walt Disney) comes to mind...."The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all."
Name: Lily Rhodes
Home Base: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Horses: I own one horse, a paint gelding, Details At Last. Better known as Charlie!
Started Riding: I've been riding ever since I can remember. I grew up with horses in my family! However, I started to take actual lessons at age 8. I've loved it ever since!
Recent Highlight: There are so many victories, big and small, it's hard to choose just one! Last year, Charlie and I won Reserve Champion for all Juniors in Training Level in our state. That was very rewarding!
Most Challenging Time: The most challenging time (but also the most exciting) was when I began riding again after the loss of my arm. It was frustrating, terrifying, amazing and freeing. That's the best way I can describe it! It took a lot of trust in my horse, but I'm so glad I got back into the saddle.
How did you overcome the Challenge?: What I did to overcome the challenge is just stick with it. Riding has brought me so much joy for my entire life, I couldn't give up! I spent lots of time focusing on my balance so I could ride again. The day I was cleared to ride by my doctors, you bet I spent the entire day at the barn! If you set your mind to do something, you'll make it happen.
Most Rewarding Moment: My most rewarding moment was riding in my first show after the accident. It actually happened to be on the exact one year anniversary of the loss of my arm. What was even better about it, is that Charlie and I won all of our classes in that show. It was so rewarding because I felt like I had come so far in a year. Hard work really pays off!
Who has inspired you?: I definitely would not be where I am today without my wonderful parents and trainer. They have been so supportive and encouraging throughout this entire journey. I can't imagine it without them!
Words to Live By: Never give up! Things always get easier.
Looking forward; where do you see yourself?: Hopefully the Para Olympics! But who knows.
Looking back; what advise would you give yourself?: It's going to get crazy pretty soon, but it's okay. You'll also have opportunities you've never had before!
Note: Known for her positively and horsemanship, Lily is an US Equestrian Ambassador prompting the "Discover the Joy of Horse Sports" campaign
Photo Credit: Amy Coretz