The Inspirational Life of Lauren Barwick
by: Ian Westmark
"Instead of asking "Why me?" you should say "Why not me?" That's how all the good things will come to you" -Lauren Barwick
Lauren Barwick grew up in a family of three kids, her sister has Downs Syndrome and her brother was born with a severe brain injury so she always considered herself to me the "normal child". She grew up loving horses and tried many different disciplines to see what she would like to pursue in riding. Little did Lauren know that things would change with a blink of an eye on July 17th 2000.
While Lauren was feeding horses at the barn she was working at a 100-pound bale of hay fell ten feet and landed on Lauren. It left Lauren paralized from the belly button down with absolutely no feeling at all. "I had two broken vertebras and a severed spinal cord. It took two screws, a bar, wire mesh and bone from my hip to reassemble my back."
Lauren was disappointed because she thought she would never ride again. She continued coaching and people always said she should get back on and it could be therapeutic. She did not want to because she did not want to be led around and circles. One day she got frustrated from not have been riding and asked to be lifted onto a horse. With the help of two people Lauren sat on a horse for the first time since the accident. The next day she decided she wanted to ride again, so she did. During her rehab she had tried many different sports but she knew riding was her passion.
In 2001 Lauren decided she would set a goal of being a Para-Dressage rider and was going to compete in the Paralympics. Para-Dressage is a sport of riding in the Paralympics. After lots of hard work and determination Lauren competed at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. She also competed in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Hong-Kong.
In Athens Lauren placed 6th and 7th but that wasn't good enough for her, she wanted to show what she could really do. She then went to the games in Hong-Kong and won the silver medal in one division and the gold medal in another division!
Horseback riding is not and easy sport. You don't just pick up a ball and go play. You and your partner need to get along and understand each other. It can also be very dangerous when dealing with a 1000 pound partner who has a mind of its own. "It was an incredible journey with many lows and highs but Maile defiantly gave me her everything and helped me achieve my dreams and goals." Maile was Laurens mount for both Olympic games she competed in.
Lauren is defiantly inspiring and her story shows that even if bad things happen, something good will come out of it if you put your mind to it and work hard for what you want. Lauren is planning on competing in the 2012 games in London and plans to win another medal.
(I will bring in the magazine for you to read the article.)