Stinna Kaastrup has been riding horses since she was six years old. Like many young riders, she fell in love with the sport. She loved everything from the adrenaline she felt in the saddle to the smell of her tack. Her story is a lot like any other rider's, but Stinna is far from average. She's a world class equestrian with numerous medals and titles. She has earned awards at the paralympics and brought home gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games. She's a consistent winner with drive and determination to always be better. Stinna was also born without legs. She has a disability, but that has never kept this experienced rider out of the saddle or away from the winner's circle.
Strength and Passion
For Stinna, horseback riding started as a form of physical therapy. The act of riding strengthened muscles and tendons, and six-year-old Stinna went to the barn to improve her mobility and comfort. She started with basic lessons, but her time spent with horses quickly grew into a passion for riding. She continued with her lessons, and soon she could keep her balance in the saddle despite not having legs to support her. With natural talent and drive to succeed, she started competing. Not only that, she started winning.
Now 25 years old, Stinna Kaastrup has proven that her disability is no match for her determination. She lives a full life with her own apartment, a supportive boyfriend, loving parents, a top-notch groom, and a talented trainer. She works every day to become better at riding, and it pays off.
Determination and Success
In 2016, Stinna competed in the Summer Paralympics with her 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding named Smarties. The pair earned themselves a bronze medal at the Individual Championship test grade lb event. With that success, Stinna and Smarties continued to bring home awards and recognition. In 2018, they won gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games. Their new title came with a personal best score and was Smartie's final win before retirement.
Stinna works hard both in and out of the saddle, but she also gives credit to her partner, Smarties. As a former Grand Prix horse, Smarties is a natural at dressage. Stinna says he responds to her slight cues, and the pair has developed an impenetrable line of communication. Smarties seems to know exactly what his rider is thinking, and that bond has been integral to their success.
Horse Courses by Elaine Heney
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- Dancing at Liberty & Creating Connection with Your Horse (11 lessons) - Grey Pony Films
While Smartie's retirement will be an obstacle to overcome, Stinna knows her boy deserves the cushy life of a retired champion. And Stinna won't stop riding. A five-year-old horse named Blue Hors Soletto is currently training to be her next competition horse. She's ready to keep competing, and her sights are set on a gold medal at the 2020 paralympics. Stinna Kaastrup has already proven she can do incredible things, and we can't wait to see where her future takes her.
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