Much of life is about being able to adapt to huge, unexpected changes. In 2004, Veronica Gogan was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. While she’s had to make some adjustments to her lifestyle, her diagnosis hasn’t stopped her from living her best and pursuing her dreams. Veronica found a solution with a mobility scooter.
In 2014, Veronica started using her Victory® 9 mobility scooter, named after Harry Potter’s broomstick Nimbus, at large events.
“I swear he runs on hopes and dreams! I am forever grateful for the durability and longevity. He goes into the fields, rings, gravel, grass, mud, and just about everywhere else,” Veronica exclaimed. She also praised the Victory’s stability on rugged terrain.
Since 2018, she uses her Victory® 9.2 scooter, New Nimbus, for community living in Northern Virginia.
“I love LOVE love the cup holder, USB charging port, the snazzier seat, and the front lights. He is certainly not a petite device, but I love that I can stack groceries, shopping, and anything else on him and away we go,” Veronica said.
With the help of her scooters, Veronica can keep up with her young family and active lifestyle independently. She can take her kids places, run errands, go to doctor’s appointments and travel by herself.
“We love to do outdoorsy things. Hiking, geocaching, Renaissance Festivals, sporting events, swimming, and travel. My three- and five-year-old boys have grown up around my scooter and to them it’s just a member of our family,” Veronica explained.
Veronica has been “horse-crazed” since she was five years old. She started riding as a child, through college and into adulthood. Horses helped her cope with her relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis diagnosis at the age of 17.
In 2013, Veronica could no longer ride horses, but five years later she discovered para dressage. Getting involved with the adaptive sport allows her to continue her life-long love affair with horses and competing. Her new dream is to compete in the Paralympics.
Veronica credits her mobility scooter with saving her energy as she gets around the barn and tends to the horses. She can navigate the barn, keeping up with the horses while not spooking them.
“It wouldn’t be safe for me to be around the horses on my two feet. It has allowed me to pursue a passion I so dearly love,” Veronica said.
Veronica’s career in para-athletics started in 2018. She began competing in 2020 with her trainer’s horse, Robin, who came out of retirement to be her para horse.
In 2020, they were named to the U.S. Equestrian Federation Para Dressage Emerging Athlete List. At the 2020 Para Dressage National Championships, they won both tests for her impairment level, earned the high score for introductory test A among all emerging athletes and reserve high score for introductory test B.
“Our journey has been as miraculous for me as it has been for him,” Veronica said.
Robin is returning to a life of retirement sometime soon and Veronica will transition to a horse capable to take her to new levels in riding. She seeks the resources and builds the team needed to make her dreams a reality.
Veronica is also very involved in the adaptive sports community. As she continues to learn about para dressage and the growing number of other adaptive sports, she finds herself inspired by the community and is proud to be a part of it.
Veronica said, “As difficult as daily functions of daily living can be with a disability, these athletes are not only honing their skills in their sports, they are necessitating that their training facilities accommodate, the travel they do has to accommodate, and so on.”
Veronica also looks to serve as an encouragement and inspiration to others through her blog. In her blog, she talks about disability, multiple sclerosis, her journey as a para dressage rider and having a family.
“I want to find a way to encourage innocent curiosity from outside the world of disability. I fear prejudice, uncertainty, and inaccessibility come from lack of understanding rather than from malice,” Veronica said.
To learn more about Veronica Gogan and follow her journey, you can check out her blog at veronicagoganparaequestrian.wordpress.com.