In October 2021, Jan’s life changed drastically when she was riding her horse, Wager, at Elk Island National Park. Wager was spooked by a group of bison and bolted, so Jan made an emergency dismount and hit the ground hard, breaking her spine in six places.
Within three weeks of the accident, Jan arrived at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital where she never missed a day of rehabilitation. Although Jan’s doctors weren’t sure if she would ever walk again, she was motivated to get back in the saddle, something she’s been doing since she was four-years-old.
Jan was an inpatient at the Glenrose Hospital during the height of the pandemic so she spent a lot of time in isolation. She never let that stop her from working hard – even if it meant exercising her core and getting stronger alone in her room! Despite many setbacks, Jan remained positive and determined – so much so that everyone felt she would ride her horse again one day.
Glenrose Hospital staff brought in Jan’s saddle so she could practice mounting it, working on skills that used to be second nature, like swinging her leg over the saddle and getting her feet into the stirrups. Jan’s hard work paid off! Less than eight months after her accident, she got back on Wager. Jan’s dedication to rehabilitation, along with the supportive staff and specialized rehabilitative care, made all the difference in reaching her goal to get back in the saddle.
Now Jan is teaching Wager to listen to her voice for guidance rather than signals from her legs.
In honour of her determination and persistence during her rehabilitation journey, Jan earned a Courage Award in 2022.