Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility A lesson in life from Béatrice de Lavalette, a victim of the Brussels terrorist attacks | Equita Lyon

© PSV J.Morel

A lesson in life from Béatrice de Lavalette, a victim of the Brussels terrorist attacks

5 November 2023

On Saturday afternoon, a large audience made their way to the Health Area to attend the conference entitled "The bond between humans and horses and its influence on physical and mental health" (Le lien Homme-cheval et son influence sur leur santé physique et mentale), featuring the special-guest speaker Béatrice de Lavalette, who was a victim of the Brussels terrorist attacks in 2016. Since that time, the para-dressage rider has taken part in the Tokyo Paralympic Games and is hoping to be part of the US team for Paris 2024. This Franco-American gave a powerful talk, full of hope and « life ».

When the Brussels attack took place on 22 March 2016, Béatrice de Lavalette was just 17 years old. Although she survived, she lost both her legs and, initially, her desire to live. « The first few days in hospital, I just didn't want to exist anymore. But I got a surprise when my mare, Delegada X, was brought to the hospital, so I could see her in the car park. It was like throwing a lifeline to someone who has fallen over board. I got my hope back », explained the rider, who, from that moment on, had just one thing on her mind : getting back in the saddle. And five months later, she had done it! « For a very long time, I didn't recognise myself, but Delegada looked at me as if nothing had changed. She felt me and cuddle up to me. My mare gave me back me the strength that I had lost. She showed me that I could still have a life after the attacks », explained Béatrice, who learnt to ride again and set her sights on qualifying for the Tokyo Paralympics. A feat that she achieved in part thanks to her new partner, Clarc, who took her to the land of the rising sun.

The Grade II para-dressage rider is now hoping to be selected for Paris 2024 with her horse Sixth Sense. « I grew up in Versailles (Ed. where the Olympic riding events will be held), so it makes me want to be there even more. The fact that I've already taken part in the Paralympic Games means that I can look forward to the event without too much stress. I also want to prove to myself and to the world that whatever happens to us in life, we can always keep moving forward. » A genuine lesson in life, which was applauded by the captivated audience.

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