Crippling fall no handicap to Emma's horse-riding success

TALENTED horsewoman Emma Douglas has become a successful dressage rider - despite having being paralysed from the waist down.

The 25-year-old, from Inverness, has mastered trotting, cantering and even jumping on her Irish thoroughbred Murphy, after suffering serious injuries when she fell off a friend's horse five years ago.

She said: "Murphy is a truly amazing horse. After the accident, from the moment my dad first lifted me onto him, straight away Murphy realised something was up.

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"It was as though he sensed I had no balance, and that I couldn't grip with my legs.

"But between us we managed to come to an understanding about what I needed him to do."

Emma, who started riding when she was four, suffered her back injury in August 2005.

"As soon as I landed on the ground I was sure that it was a pretty serious injury. I landed on my bum and lower back, with my legs bent underneath me."

She is urging more disabled people to take up dressage by visiting