Utahn partially paralyzed in accident back in the saddle to pursue Paralympic glory

Posted at 5:52 PM, Dec 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-21 19:52:06-05

HEBER CITY -- In dressage, the best riders look like they are not doing anything, as if it’s the horse’s idea to do the movements.

“It's the ultimate team sport,” said dressage rider Lara Oles. “Your teammate is a 1,000-pound animal that doesn't speak English, and you have to learn to communicate.”

And that communication poses even more challenges for Oles, who is paralyzed on her right side. She suffered the injuries in a skiing accident.

“I couldn't walk, so I had to relearn to walk," she said. I'm lucky I can ride, and that's all that really matters.”

With only the use of one hand and one strong leg, she's become one of the best para riders in the country and is now preparing to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Riding is hard enough when you have all four of your limbs, and I don't,” she said.

She's the first Utahn with a disability to ride dressage at this level, and, after all she's been through, the gold doesn't seem that far away.

“If the Olympics were to happen tomorrow she would be competitive right now," said Annie Sweet, who is Oles’s Trainer.

If you would like to help Oles on her journey to the Paralympics check out her website,