Inspirational Women: Sara Morganti

Italy’s Sara Morganti who celebrates her birthday today, talks about the key people who have helped her para equestrian career. The 47-year-old who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, is a four-time World Champion, European silver and bronze medallist, and Paralympic bronze medallist.

Inspirational Women: Sara Morganti

“My para equestrian success is very much the result of teamwork, and in my case that team is made up of my husband, sister and my two trainers.

My husband Stefano and I first met at a small riding centre when I was 15 years-old, so we’ve known each other a long time.

I was already engaged to Stefano when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at 19-years-old. Our wedding took place three years later. But just a month before our big day, I had to start using a wheelchair. I was worried about what Stefano would think when I told him. But he said to me, “Sara, I don’t care if you have MS and I don’t care if you’re in a wheelchair. You’ll always be the same person to me and I’ll always be here for you.”

He’s always been my biggest supporter and the reason I have continued with my sporting career all these years. There were times when I wanted to give up and I didn’t feel I had the physical strength to go on because of my illness, but Stefano has always helped me push through.

I am fortunate not just to have someone who I know will always be by my side whatever my condition, but also to be married to someone who shares my passion for horses. Because as anyone who is married to a horse lover knows, this is not just a sport, but also a life choice. And this means that our horses need our attention even on weekends and holidays!

Stefano was an officer in Italy’s Military Academy and rode horses a lot during this time. Although he doesn’t ride as much now, he helps with looking after my horses and getting them ready for me to ride. He lunges for me when my trainer is unavailable and drives my horses to competitions as well.

While I have a big, supportive family who give me plenty of encouragement, it is my sister Victoria – who will always be my “little” sister even at 32 years of age – who has been simply incredible.

She helps me at home to do all the things that I’m unable to do by myself. She also accompanies me during competitions to help get the horses ready. She's ever so caring and I don’t know how I would manage without her help.

And I know that I would have never achieved as much in my career if it wasn’t for my trainers Laura Conz and Alessandro Benedetti. They know how to work with my disability rather than against it, and my success is in large part due to their patience and deep understanding of how to get the most out of me, even on the difficult days.

It’s not easy to find people who believe in you. And sometimes this belief is more important than any physical support they can offer.

When, like me, you find the people who you can count on and who want the best for you everyday, keep them close and appreciate them with all your heart.”