Chloe's riding to success

18 September 2023 | Expected time to read: 4 minutes

Chloe riding a horse

Not many 15-year-olds can say that they are on track to represent Australia. It involves hard work, talent and dedication, even more so when the odds are stacked against you.  

Horse rider Chloe is deaf, has a congenital heart defect and severely impaired balance and coordination, but none of that is stopping her from achieving her goals.  

Chloe is a talented and determined dressage rider. Her room is full of medals, sashes and trophies from a decade of riding, and she has her sights on the world stage.

What is remarkable about Chloe’s achievements is that Chloe has spent her childhood partly at the stables and partly in the wards of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Her parents, Renny and Greg, found out Chloe had a serious heart defect at Renny’s 20-week scan, and as soon as she was born, Chloe was transferred to the Grace Centre for Neonatal Intensive Care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where she spent the next 5 weeks fighting for her life with her parents by her side.

Chloe as a newborn wrapped in blankets, her mum holding her

On one occasion during this gut-wrenching time, Chloe’s heart stopped beating and her dad desperately promised her he’d buy her a pony if she pulled through.

Chloe was a fighter. As well as undergoing four open heart surgeries before the age of five, Chloe also lost her hearing at the age of three and she and her family threw themselves into learning Auslan so she could communicate.

A horse-obsessed toddler, once she was less clinically vulnerable Chloe had her first riding lesson with Riding for the Disabled, and immediately her trainers noticed that this little girl had a real rapport with the horses and had a natural talent for riding.

Just as he promised, Chloe’s dad bought her a pony. She then began seriously competing in shows throughout NSW, and, despite her deafness, chose to specialise in dressage, a type of horse riding where the horse performs particular movements to music.

Chloe holding her ribbon for becoming champion in the Riding for the Disabled State Dressage Championships

While this means Chloe has had to work much harder than other kids, she’s happy to put in the extra work.

“Being deaf doesn’t hold me back,” says Chloe. “It just means I have to practice a little more than other riders.”

After years of training and competing, in 2023, Chloe won overall champion in the Riding for the Disabled State Dressage Championships, as well as a clutch of other events.

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“People often tell Chloe she’s not able to do things because of her disability,” says Renny. “But she has always been a fighter and loves being able to prove them wrong. I’m incredibly proud of her and can’t wait to see how far she’ll go.”

And Chloe’s aiming high. “When I grow up,” she says, “I want to represent Australia in dressage and train other riders with disabilities.”

With Chloe’s determination, talent and fighting spirit, there’s nothing holding her back.

Help kids like Chloe go on to achieve their dreams by making a donation today.

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