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Trailblazing disabled equestrian Veronica Gogan – galloping against all odds
By Alice Williams

In a world filled with ordinary stories, there are those that shine with extraordinary brilliance. Veronica Gogan, a remarkable woman and adaptive athlete, is one such beacon of inspiration. As a mother of two boys and a fierce competitor in para dressage, Veronica’s journey is defined by her indomitable spirit and unwavering determination. What sets her apart is not just her incredible talent, but her unwavering dedication to empowering others, especially women, with disabilities.

Veronica’s story began 19 years ago, when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the tender age of 17. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that she truly embraced her identity as a disabled individual. Throughout her life, Veronica’s passion for horses burned brightly within her soul. From the age of five, when she embarked on a trail ride that ignited her love for these majestic creatures, she knew that horses were her calling. Riding became her sanctuary, her escape from the trials of life.

A profound believer in the healing power of movement, Veronica has found solace and strength in the saddle. She recognizes the transformative impact of physical activity on overall well-being, especially for those with disabilities like herself. With boundless gratitude for her experiences, she embraces her role as an advocate, offering guidance and support to young women facing the challenges of disability, multiple sclerosis, and the delicate balance of family life.

What draws Veronica to the world of horses? She ponders this question, acknowledging that the allure is as enigmatic as the bond between horse and rider. For her, it is a visceral connection-a love that courses through her veins, unexplainable yet undeniable. It is a deep admiration for the intuitive nature of these magnificent animals and the peace she finds in their presence. But beyond that, it is the thrill of competition that drives her. Unlike any other sport, equestrianism demands harmony between rider and horse. A language unspoken yet understood, a partnership built on trust and respect. It is a great equalizer-a sport where disabilities become irrelevant, where strength and determination prevail.

Veronica’s advocacy extends far beyond her personal journey. She believes that horses possess an innate ability to offer gifts beyond human comprehension. These extraordinary creatures possess an intuition that defies explanation. They can connect with non-verbal individuals, providing solace and companionship. They grant freedom to those whose bodies may be limited, becoming a conduit for empowerment and liberation.

In the world of competitive para equestrian sports, Veronica faces unique challenges. The physical demands of her disability require rigorous training, encompassing both her strength and endurance. She commits herself to a carefully crafted regimen, working with adaptive gyms and trainers who understand the intricacies of her sport. Moreover, she navigates the financial constraints associated with her passion, relying on grants and sponsors to continue her pursuit of excellence.

Amid the complexities of her life, Veronica remains unwavering in her commitment to her family. She orchestrates a delicate balancing act, weaving her training into the fabric of her daily routine. Her support system-her unwavering pillars of strength-ensure that her dreams are realized. They lend a helping hand, caring for her children and creating an environment where she can thrive.

Veronica’s journey is a testament to the power of movement, the resilience of the human spirit, and the unwavering belief that anything is possible. Her story resonates with those who dare to dream, who refuse to be defined by their disabilities. She encourages individuals of all abilities-be it physical, cognitive or mental-to embrace the transformative power of sports. With goals as guiding beacons, we can rise above the challenges, uniting as a team to triumph over adversity.

In the end, Veronica’s message is clear: seize the power of movement, embrace the extraordinary and dare to defy limitations. Whether your goal is to walk a few steps or conquer a hundred miles, the journey begins with a single step. Remember, plans are empowering, and with unwavering determination, you can conquer the seemingly impossible.

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