24 August 2017

23-year old Swede Felicia Grimmenhag is a young woman with a heck of a story.

When she was just 17, she was riding her moped when she was hit by a car and suffered horrific injuries that resulted in her losing both of her legs.


Thanks to her own self-proclaimed stubbornness, she decided to get on the back of a horse, something she used to do as a kid, and now she’s competing at the Longines FEI European Championships for Sweden.


Hi Felicia - So what did you think of the competition?


I’m really impressed! I don't think I’ve ever been so nervous, excited and tired as I am now. It’s so cool to have everything right her in the centre of the city.



Tell us what happened to you after your accident.


It was pretty dramatic - my heart also stopped and I was clinically dead for 15 minutes. When I was recovering in hospital, I got it into my head that I really wanted to start riding again. I had ridden a little when I was a kid but now I really want to give it a go again. I don’t know why! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it without legs.


I came across a German rider, Angelica Trabert, who has a similar disability to me and she really inspired me to go for it! I thought - if she can do it, then so can I.



“It was pretty dramatic - my heart also stopped and I was clinically dead for 15 minutes.”

So how did you start back in the saddle after so long?


I was back on a horse 9 or 10 weeks after the accident, which was pretty fast. I started off just riding when I had the energy to do it, but about 3 years ago I went to watch the Swedish Para-Equestrian team and it hit me that this was where I wanted to be!


So I got a horse over the summer and started to compete, both in Dressage and western, and it went very well, so I though “yes, this is for me!"


Now you’re on the International stage!


Yes, for the first 2 years I had a lovely horse, but wasn't great with people like me, with no legs! I came into contact with Jana Wannius, who owns Falsterbo Horse Show, and he told me that were some people had heard about me and wanted to help out in getting me a horse! One of these was Patrik Kittel.


I couldn't believe it and after a year of searching I found him Taro E. I’ve only had him for 7 months and to have a debut so soon afterwards, and on top of that in my home country, is just such a thrill!


How would you describe yourself?


In a word - stubborn! If I really want something, I set my mind 100% to it. I’d like to think that I’m a happy person as well. If I get angry for some reason, it doesn’t last long at all.



Would you agree that your accident opened a door to a new life for you?


Definitely! I sometimes like to think that it happened for a reason, because I have experienced so many things I would never have had the chance to before my accident, or met some many amazing people along the way.


I don't feel like I’m just 23 years old as I have experienced so much already! I would go as far to say that I live a more exciting life, and a happier life, than I did before.


So what’s next for you, after the Championships?


First of all, a holiday! For both of us! After that, I don’t know. Maybe the World Championships? But they are in the USA so it will be much harder to get there.

My big goal though is the Paralympics in 2020!