Jessica Thoma’s journey as a rider amazed and inspired us all at Dover Saddlery, and we wanted to share her story with you.
Jessica lives in Tennessee and has been riding for more than 20 years. She first learned how to ride on school ponies, later moved up to a Mustang, and she now owns, with her family, a total of 10 horses. Five of them are a herd of miniature horses! Her introduction to the equestrian world began with learning how to ride Western, but her focus quickly changed to English after watching numerous videos of professional jumpers and eventers complete their courses. She started learning how to jump bareback because she could not afford to buy an English saddle at the time, and when Jessica’s parents gave her a three-day event video game, she was hooked. It soon became her dream to become an eventer and to show at recognized events.
Jessica’s story so far may sound familiar to your own; many could say they, too, began their riding career in a similar manner. But Jessica has started writing a story that’s
entirely her own as a #TripleAmputeeEventer. In 2017, she began to feel sick constantly, and eventually developed a severe rash that prompted multiple misdiagnoses. Her condition drastically deteriorated. Finally, through a biopsy of a lesion on her side, her doctors discovered she had Polyarteritis Nodosa (PAN), a rare type of vasculitis in which the blood vessels within the arteries become inflamed and cause organ damage. Jessica nearly died three times during months of hospitalization, and ultimately underwent surgery to amputate both of her legs and her left arm. After a long ordeal, Jessica is finally back home with her horses and family.
We recently interviewed Jessica Thoma to hear firsthand all about her inspiring journey as a #TripleAmputeeEventer, her plans to continue riding and to work in the equestrian field. She loves to draw and play video games, but at her heart, synonymous with her love of riding is her passion for teaching people, especially kids, how to ride. For those who want to learn more about Jessica, she also keeps her supporters updated on her progress through Facebook (Jessica Thoma) and Instagram (@TripleAmputeeEventer).