Rebecca Hart, 31, was born with a rare progressive genetic disease called Familial Spastic Paraplegia (FSP). As an adult, it primarily affects her muscles and joints from the waist down, causing partial paralysis and severe spasticity. As a child, it also caused her to have difficulty gaining strength in her upper body for a few years and slowed all her motor development. Rebecca began riding at the age of ten.
Rebecca was the Unites States National Para-Equestrian Champion in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012, 2014. In 2008, she was a member of the United States Paralympic Equestrian team, competing in Hong Kong and again in 2012 at the Paralympics in London, after which she appeared with her horse on Good Morning America with Ann Romney. Most recently she competed at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Rebecca has won and competed in many National and International Championships.
Rebecca has done many demonstrations promoting riding for the disabled, and has spoken recently at several fundraisers to promote therapeutic and competitive riding. She has served as a youth consultant for the United States Equestrian Federation. She is also a national speaker for the Familial Spastic Paraplegia Organization. Rebecca is a graduate of Penn State University.
Adapt and Overcome - Rebecca uses this motto daily. She has adapted to & overcome many obstacles with a positive attitude, dedication, hard work & always with the brightest of smiles. Wear her signature, motto & beautiful equestrian print to inspire you & show your support for this incredible young woman. Proceeds go to help benefit Rebecca’s many expenses incurred representing the USA at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, as well as toward continued support for future games representing the USA. Rebecca demonstrates daily, the true human spirit that we should all aspire to in our daily lives.
One of Rebecca’s long-term goals is to promote the growth of Para-sport in the United States and to get people to change their perspective. She wants them to turn their perceived obstacles into building blocks.
“I would not be the person I am today without the Para-Program. Para-sport gave me an outlet to pursue my athletic ambitions and overcome the mental and physical effects of growing up with a disability. It is easy to fall into the trap of letting your disability dictate your life and limit what you do because it is expected or conventional. You only get one moment, one life, don’t waste it. If I can get one person to reevaluate their situation; I have been successful.”