Bettina Eistel – Adversity to Thriving Monday’s

by Tanya Monteiro on 03/11/2019

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Horse riding as a child was where I sorted things out in my head and my heart. I’m not certain I was aware of that at the time but in hindsight, I am certain that my horses provided me with a lot more than a safe space and, I know they were smarter than I was. Now despite my joy at being back in the saddle I am finding it very hard and super tiring, so when I discovered this brave and inspiring human it literally stopped me in tracks.

Bettina Eistel rides with no arms, AND, she doesn’t only ride and groome her horse, Fabuleax 5 with no arms or hands, she competes with him!

Born in germany in 1961 with no arms due to the drug, Thalidomide, Bettina’s Mother never allowed her disability to be a disability.

(For those interested, Thalidomide was a drug given to pregnant women before it was known that it caused birth defects.)

As a child Bettina learned how to use her feet and toes as hands and fingers. With time she started horse riding lessons. Wearing riding boots with cut-outs in the toes so she could have ‘hands’ to feel more, just imagine that for a second?

Bettina can saddle, bridle, hose down, wrap a blanket and do just about anything else that is needed for her horse, Fabuleax 5. She rides by steering with her legs and holding the reins in her mouth. In addition to all this Bettina can write, text and put on her mascara on with her toes!

It’s important to consider the type of horse that Fabuleax 5 must be as a partner. Together they perform at a very high level in dressage. I’m so curious to know the back story in finding Fabuleax 5?

As if Bettina’s life is not full enough, she is also a Talk Show Host.  With a weekly show on the German TV station ZDF.

I’m in awe of this women’s courage and will be drawing on her guts, coupled with memories of my own childhood, during my weekly riding lessons from now on.

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