Josie Pearson, who won paralympic gold in the discuss at London 2012 - and broke the F51 discus world record - says her next aim is to get back in the saddle.
Prior to a car accident in 2003, which killed her boyfriend and left Josie paralysed from the chest down, the 26-year-old was a keen horse rider. Starting out in the Pony Club Josie worked her way up the ranks and was competing a 15.1hh Welsh Section D.
“George took me from ponies to horses and he was great,” Josie told H&C. “I used to do a bit of everything with him, but my main goal was to eventually get into three day eventing.”
When Josie found herself in a wheelchair she realised that riding was no longer an option and she put George out on loan to local girl, who “did great things with him”.
“I did ride after accident, but because of the level of my injury it was very hard,” said Josie. “And because my brain knew what to do but my body couldn’t respond I found it really frustrating.”
Josie also struggled with a standard GP saddle, as it offered little support. But after watching an American documentary about a rider who had similar injuries to her she felt inspired to try to get back in the saddle.
“This guy rode western and he’d had his saddle adapted, so it gave his back support,” Josie explained. “Also, because he neck reined he only had to use one hand to control the horse.”
“One of things I really want to do is do is ride on a horseback safari and seeing this programme has motivated me to make it happen.”
The challenge for Josie is finding that saddle - which she says could mean flying to America, although she is considering asking her local saddler if they could adapt a western saddle in the same way.
Another dream of Josie’s which she is determined to make a reality is getting to Rio in 2016 and winning two golds for her country.
“I’ll be 30 by then, but the discuss isn’t like swimming or sprinting, where you peak when you’re young,” Josie said. “In my sport you seem to get better as a mature athlete.”
Horses are still very much a part of Josie's life. She still owns George - although he is retired from competition now - and the family have a few miniature shetlands at her home, "to help keep the grass down". And one of the highlights of London 2012 - along with that gold medal - was meeting the police horses working there.
"I was at a warm-up track next to stadium, when I heard a horse whinny," explains Josie. "I asked where it came from and was told there was stables which the mounted police used as rest area for their horse out on patrol."
It was quickly arranged, via a helpful security man, for Josie to meet these magnificent horses, who she said were "absolutely ginormous, but very well behaved". And Josie may receive an extra unexpected honour from the Games.
"Each year they have different letter for horse’s names – and the sergeant said he is going to suggest calling one of the new horses Pearson as it’s the letter 'P' this year."