Shedding a limb is a life-changing occasion however a girl from the Saskatoon space is popping her incapacity into alternative as she chases a Paralympic dream.
Tanya Shevchenko had her proper leg amputated under the knee in 2017, two years after growing an enormous cell tumour on her ankle. A earlier operation to take away the non-cancerous tumour had confirmed to be solely a brief repair, as the expansion had returned only a few months afterward.
Shevchenko says she was decided to not let the amputation management her life.
“I may come out of this example in two methods. I may both be a sufferer of the amputation, let the amputation personal me and reside day in and day trip with that’s all I take into consideration and the way there’s so many issues I can’t do anymore or I may come out of this pondering, ‘Yeah, it’s gonna be exhausting, discover a option to take care of it. If there’s one thing you need to do, then there’s no such factor as can’t.’”
Armed with that mindset, Shevchenko turned to a well-recognized pastime to gas her restoration.
A aggressive equestrian rider in her youth who gave up exhibiting horses to start out a household and a nursing profession, she saddled again up after her surgical procedure at Equilibrium Therapeutic Driving close to her residence in Neuenlage, Sask.
“Every little thing simply occurs for a purpose, I feel. We moved out to this acreage, I acquired sick after which this therapeutic barn is 5 minutes from my home, so I used to be fortunate to have the ability to come over right here earlier than I used to be even on a prosthetic,” she mentioned.
With the assistance of therapeutic horsemanship coach Erin McCormick, Shevchenko, who had spent two years on crutches previous to her amputation, taught her physique how you can stroll once more.
“The primary few classes was actually me simply closing my eyes as (McCormick) was main the horse across the enviornment, simply getting my stability and letting my hips and my pelvis transfer the way in which they’re imagined to.”
Shevchenko quickly realized she wished to do extra than simply trip for remedy — she wished to compete once more.
After she and McCormick attended a clinic led by Clive Milkins, the para-dressage high-performance program technical chief for Equestrian Canada, Shevchenko set her sights on making the nationwide para-dressage group in hopes of competing on the 2024 Paralympic Video games in Paris.
“It’s an enormous purpose nevertheless it’s not a purpose that I’m going to perform in a single day. I’ve to do it daily and step-by-step,” she mentioned.
The game of dressage sees horse and rider judged on their potential to carry out varied patterns and modifications of tempo and route. Shevchenko has spent the final 18 months working with a now-12-year-old mount named Apollo. The partnership has confirmed to be an excellent one.
“A variety of issues go into being a celebrity and considered one of them is your work ethic, and Tanya’s acquired a ton of that. The opposite is a willingness to be taught and he or she’s additionally acquired a ton of that,” McCormick mentioned.
Whereas dressage is a well-established equestrian self-discipline, para-dressage continues to be in its infancy in Canada and Shevchenko believes that she can assist deliver extra publicity to the game.
“I’ve a possible to have the ability to develop this sport and open doorways and pave a path for not simply the athletes right here at Equilibrium however by way of Saskatchewan, by way of the prairie provinces and hopefully sort of deliver consciousness to the game all through Canada,” she mentioned.
Shevchenko plans to compete in Saskatchewan and Alberta this yr — offered COVID-19 restrictions have eased — and hopes to journey to america subsequent winter to additional her growth.
“I actually need to make that transfer in the direction of competing internationally as a way to make the (Paralympic) group and compete at that calibre of competitors,” she mentioned.
It’s a protracted street forward however with each step she and Apollo take within the enviornment, the dream turns into a bit extra actual.
“I’m not able to go to the (Paralympics) as of in the present day. However I do know that I can get there, and I’m making strides each day and I do know that I can do it.”
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