Bryanna’s Bold Ride

Accomplished athletes have goals, determination, and a fire inside of them. Bryanna Tanase has all that and a reason to ride. She fell in love with horses when she was just 3 years old and visiting a farm with her sister’s preschool. She spent the next 14 years dreaming about riding and learning about horses by reading books and researching riding on the internet. It wasn’t until she typed in “disabled rider” did she finally see an image of a person with a disability riding a horse and learn about Para Dressage. Then, she knew her dream could be a reality.

When Bryanna was 17 years old, she finally had access to ride a horse through a therapeutic riding center that had a lift for her to mount and dismount a horse safely. Since then, Bryanna has been riding and training with plans to participate in Para Dressage at a future Paralympic Games.

Bryanna trains multiple times a week. Some training sessions focus on the highly technical movements of Para Dressage. Other sessions focus on developing her overall strength, stamina, and riding skills. Bryanna also trains at home doing exercises to stretch and tone her muscles. This is incredibly challenging work because Bryanna has cerebral palsy which creates spasticity and uncontrollable movements in her muscles. Therefore, she must approach every day with an open mind and dogged determination to her training.

Bryanna also has one training technique that gives her an edge. She watches and analyzes hours of riding videos. She will watch fully able-bodied riders and think about how to translate their moves to her own riding style. She also watches Para Dressage riders like Sydney Collier to see possible adaptations to movements. Combining this critical analysis with Bryanna’s ability to develop deep connections with her horse, she is making great strides toward her goals of riding in FEI competitions on her way to the Paralympic Games.

However, Bryanna does not ride for the ribbons or medals. She has a larger purpose for reaching the podium. 

“I ride because I want people in the disability community to see themselves represented. I want people in the able-bodied community to better understand people with disabilities. I want to be seen as more than just a person in a wheelchair. I have goals and I am working to reach them.”

Bryanna adds that the adaptive sport of Para Dressage has not only made her physically stronger but mentally tougher. It has also connected her with a community of riders, trainers, and horses. It has even enabled her to redefine “ability” for herself.

According to Bryanna, “Ability is the natural gifts and talents that you have, but it is also the work that you put into something. My abilities have grown because of horses and riding.”

At Team Possible, we look forward to cheering Bryanna on and watching her reach her goals. If you want to join her journey, follow her on Instagram @bt.paradressage.

20-20 Vision for 2021

2020 gave us a lot to reflect on and learn from. It’s been hard, but there is hope. Here are a five reasons we will keep pushing forward in 2021 at Team Possible:

#1: Our first picture book biography titled, Nick Springer on the Move, featuring the sports story of wheelchair rugby champion, Nick Springer, and illustrated by Mouth and Foot Painting Artist, Christopher Kuster, is slated for publication in June 2021.

#2: Our work sharing adaptive and inclusive sports stories to REDEFINE ability has been welcomed by children at local schools and educators at national conferences.

Letter from a student after Ian and Jen presented Nick Springer’s Sports Story

#3: Team Possible blog posts have been read and shared around the globe because REPRESENTATION MATTERS.

#4: New relationships have been built with organizations like Move United, Flex for Access, Adaptively Abled Fitness, and National Paralympic Heritage Trust who share our passion for sports and access because EVERYONE can play!

#5: We got a whole new look and attitude developed by our AWESOME social media coordinator.

BONUS ITEM: If you read to the bottom, you deserve a treat. And, we’ve got one for you! Check out in this great documentary, Rising Phoenix, about Dr. Ludwig Guttmann’s vision and the power of the Paralympic Movement.

Stay tuned for more good news and sports stories! Until then, keep believing in the POSSIBLE!