Ninon Forget: sports and disability, riding to push yourself
Ninon Forget has been immersed in the world of horseback riding since childhood and is gradually building her professional future in this direction. But in June 2020, while she was putting a gaiter on her mare’s foot, a horse threw a violent hoof blow at her face. This accident resulted in 27 maxillofacial fractures and the total and permanent loss of her sight. But if this ordeal may seem traumatic, it takes more to prevent Ninon from practicing her passion.
« I grew up surrounded by horses and then it became my passion » Ninon Forget
Born into a family of sports fans, Ninon Forget grew up inspired by her sister and mother who were both horseback riders. Her first memories go back to the pony rides she took when she was 2-3 years old. She started lessons at the age of 4-5, twice a week, and gradually developed a passion for the sport. From the primary school, the young girl begins the competitions of jumping and participates in the Championships of France in pony circuit. She explains that her taste for competition comes, in part, from her father who practiced athletics: “You could say that competition is in my blood.”
In high school, Ninon joined a sport study program and turned her passion into her job. She rides 3 horses daily and evolves in amateur.
In June 2020, while Ninon was taking care of her mare in the paddock, she received a violent hoof blow to the face which resulted in 27 maxillofacial fractures and the total and permanent loss of her sight. But if this ordeal may seem traumatic, it takes more to prevent Ninon from practicing her passion. Only 3 months after her accident, she started riding again.
Finding the strength to get back in the saddle after a riding accident
When we ask Ninon Forget how she overcame her fear of returning to riding, she answers serenely: “I always imagined myself getting back on a horse, I couldn’t abandon my horses.
- By losing her sight, Ninon had to create new references to adapt to horseback riding.
- How to move in a quarry without seeing it? How to jump an obstacle without knowing where it is located?
So many questions to which Ninon looked for answers. Installation of speakers in the diagonals to find her way by hearing, hearing glasses connected in bluetooth, help from her coach and her relatives to tell her by voice when to turn or jump an obstacle. Today, the young woman does not even need to find her bearings on the flat. For the jumping courses, she is guided by the indications of her coach, Virginie Isquierdo, and the criers who are placed on the right of each obstacle. A real teamwork and especially confidence which allowed her to resume jumping competitions in November 2021!
Her relationship with her horse has also evolved: “It seems that he has understood that I could not see anymore, he is very attentive to the criers and does it with his heart. […] On foot, he does not pay more attention to me than to others,” she confides laughing.
Her meeting with Roger-Yves Bost, Horse Pilot ambassador
Put in contact thanks to Horse Pilot, Roger-Yves Bost decided to follow the unusual course of the young woman by advising her and by allowing her to train at his place. “To be advised by Roger-Yves Bost, whom I admire and follow since I was a little girl, is a dream”. It was his wife, Cyrille, who encouraged Ninon to take up para dressage. Indeed, if there are no Paralympic events in show jumping, para dressage is very widespread. Very happy to have started a new discipline, Ninon Forget even explains that she has progressed on the flat since her accident. Forced to use her balance more when riding, she explains that she can feel her horse’s movements and the tension in her reins better.
« We’ll see where it takes me, maybe the Olympics one day. » Ninon Forget
No doubt that with her strength of character, we will hear about Ninon for a long time to come. Today, the young woman cannot imagine her life without horseback riding, the sport is an integral part of her daily life.
« I can’t imagine my life without horses. They force me to constantly surpass myself. When you work hard and succeed, there is no greater victory. Riding makes me feel alive, it is necessary for my happiness. » Ninon Forget
And you, why do you ride?