Beatrice de Lavalette was 17-years-old when she lost both of her legs at the terrorist bombing at Brussels airport. Despite her serious injuries, Beatrice was determined to not give up one thing she truly loved... horseback riding.
She had been riding since age 3 and was involved in dressage at age 12. Just five months after the bombings, however, she was back in the saddle. She credits her horse, DeeDee, for saving her life and keeping her spirits up when things got hard.
"I went outside in the rain and as I got closer, she came towards me and put her head against my chest. That moment made me decide that I wasn’t going to give up on life."
After years of determination and acceptance of her new normal, Beatrice made her first appearance at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020. She competed with the U.S. Para-Dressage team and credits it all to her horses.
De Lavalette says, "I can't change what happened, but I can succeed at being me. As I have said many times, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. What else is there to say? There are no 'What ifs.' I have a new life in front of me," she says on her website. "What's important is that I'm alive and I feel that I will do something grand with my life."