Diana Moore has been paralyzed on her left side ever since she was injured in a horseback riding accident 20 years ago, when she was 18.
She and her horse both fell on pavement.
"I hit my head," she said. "The first thing I said when I regained consciousness was, 'I am going to ride horses again.' "
Next week, she'll ride for Argentina in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the first such event to include para-dressage, or dressage for disabled competitors.
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In dressage — often called ballet for horses — rider and horse must complete precise routines of movements.
After her accident, Moore had to learn to do everything, including talking and eating.
"I ate through a tube," she said, pointing to a scarred indentation on her throat.
At that point, she was doubtful about her future and certainly about riding again. But her incredibly supportive parents, she said, "allowed me to go on and ride again after the accident."
Moore has un upbeat outlook on life, noting that "there are people who are much worse off than I am."
"Thanks to the accident, I met a lot of wonderful people, and I am in this competition," she said.
Moore has competed in para-dressage since 2003 and has ridden in international events in England and Belgium.
Moore smiled widely at the end of an interview Tuesday.
"After my accident, I thanked God nothing happened to my tongue because I love to talk," she said.