Laura Hall's Para-Equestrian Journey

Laura Hall (nee Card) has been riding since she was 5 years old, participating in Pony Club and competing in jumpers, eventing and her main passion, dressage. At the age of 15, Laura began training with Karen Pavicic in Vancouver to more seriously pursue her dressage career. At 17, Laura's mum purchased Northern Lights, better known as "Legs", and together they began showing at the Young Rider level in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. They proved to be a successful team winning many championships at the Young Rider and Advanced levels. In 1996, Laura and Legs were the only BC duo selected to compete at the North American Young Rider Championships. She and Legs travelled to Chicago to compete at NAYRC and had a top 20 finish, coming in as the third Canadian. Laura was long listed for the Canadian Equestrian Team for several years while she was actively competing. She declared for the Pan-American Games in 1999.

After taking some time off of horses to pursue university and a career in environmental geoscience, Laura began riding again but on February 10, 2012, Laura fell from a horse during a jumping lesson and sustained a moderately severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Fortunately she was wearing a helmet otherwise her injury would have been much more catastrophic. At first the prognosis was that she may not regain the use of her right leg and would have lasting cognitive deficits. Due to her tenacious attitude, she has mostly regained use of her leg but does still deal with cognitive deficits as well as fatigue on a daily basis. The lasting effects of the TBI have resulted in loss of strength and coordination on her right side (both leg and arm), memory, speech and other cognitive difficulties, vision issues (Laura had double vision after the accident), intense fatigue and balance difficulties. These deficits have resulted in Laura being internationally classified as a para-equestrian at the Grade 4 level.