2022: A Year in Review

G’day, Friends and welcome to the last Living Abled blog post for 2022!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas or Holiday! I, for one was spoilt rotten by my beautiful family. Not to mention I have eaten way too much.. Do I regret it…. nope!

As we approach a New Year, we all ask where has the year gone. It’s a time to reflect an take stock of the highlights, and low lights, and every lesson and journey had over the last 12 months.

So this is what this blog post is all about! And oh boy, what a year it was!

There were times of super highs and lows, many tests of grit and character, and plenty of moments to be at peace and start healing parts of myself that I had buried for a very long time. So my word for 2022 is Healing. And I spent a lot of time doing that this year both mentally and physically!


I signed up and completed a 30 day yoga challenge at the start of the year. I have always struggled doing yoga challenges because of comparison. If I couldn’t do the practice completely the same way as the instructor I would quit, because it was another reminder of being different, and my disability saying ‘remember me? yeah I am still here’. However this year, I went into the challenge with a different mindset of allowing myself the grace to just listen to my body and what it needed, and the acknowledgement that everyone does yoga in their own way. The mat became almost a place of refuge that first month, a space to give myself a gentle hug in a way and not be so harsh on me.

A photo of my legs on a grey yoga mat. There are mint green/blue words on the top of the mat.
Yoga. Bring on the 2023 yoga challenge!

Signing up for My Peak Challenge was another big thing in the fitness space. As you know I love pushing myself physically and testing the limits of what my body can really do. And I can honestly say I loved every bit of it, even though I didn’t quite make the 12 months and only made 7 of the workout program due to injuries because I like to say hi to the floor every now and again. However, the strength I felt when I was on my game, was something I was so grateful for. Each time I completed a workout, I would always leave feeling grateful to be able to still have the opportunity to work out, to still be walking and be as independent as possible. When you are disabled you so desperately crave, and you have to find it in your own way.

a selfie of me after a workout in a black top. I am trying to make the shape of the MPC logo for this year almost like an upside down diamond.
Me attempting to make the MPC logo this year… its meant to look kind of like an upside down diamond

Speaking of fitness and injuries, I experienced my first horse accident since I started riding 18 months ago. I ended up in hospital with a bruised lung and eventually found out I had somehow managed to injure my knee in the process, when scans discovered the slightest hair line fracture. I spent a night in hospital, and several weeks taking it easy on the couch and having to rely on others to help me, especially in that first week, with changing and toiletting, which is never the easiest thing in the world, purely because of how vulnerable you feel. But I am so grateful for the support system around me and for the fact that no one who helped me made me feel like an inconvenience. Feeling like an inconvenience is something I think most of us with disabilities happen to constantly feel even when people say we aren’t. So this injury was the perfect way to teach me that people don’t have to help you, they want to help no matter what and with whatever. And that thought helped me while I was recovering.

Me in the ER after my horse fall. In a blue hospital gown, laying on the hospital bed covered in white blankets. I am smiling and giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
Post horse fall, before my blood pressure dropped due to meds


I said last year I wanted to do more advocating and public speaking this year, and boy did that happen in spades!! I was lucky enough to speak at the Pride in Law event towards the last half of this year, speaking all about living with a disability and what we need from those in the community in terms of opportunities and help. The panel was such an incredible event and easily one of the standouts for the year. I am so grateful to those who allowed me the opportunity to be a panelist and the event organisers for putting on an incredible event.

An old photo of my and the other three panelists at the Pride in Law event a couple of months ago. I am on the right side of the photo speaking into my microphone while sitting in my mobility scooter wearing a floral dress and black jacket.
The Pride in Law Panel

I was also lucky enough to be apart of the Uni’s pilot Leadership Academy program to be an MC for the Awards night at Uni. To have an opportunity to Co-MC that event was such an amazing experience and to show fellow disabled people and others that you are worthy to have a MC gig at prestigious events, was something so important to me, and I am so grateful to everyone who made my role so effortless, and not to mention accessible!

Me speaking at the lecturn at the UniSQ Awards night. The other Co-MC is sitting behind and to the left of the stage.
The UniSQ Awards night

The highlight of the year: Horses, Therapy and the Mind.

Horses became something constant for me this year. I honestly can’t begin to describe the impact these incredible animals have on my life. When I started Animal Assisted Learning/ Therapy last year, I honestly thought I would just be learning how to work with horses and dogs, to be able to maybe work as a stablehand in the future (with a carer alongside me of course). However, it has become so much more than that. Having the opportunity to work and play alongside horses has been a highlight of my life. They don’t judge, they can’t be bothered I walk different, or that I use a scooter most days especially on uneven terrain. Working with two horses in particular, has enabled me to heal parts of myself that I buried for years. What they say is true, horses are almost like a mirror; they show you where you are at mentally, and at the same time allow you to be able to heal and in turn help them.

me and a beautiful black horse. I am sitting in my mobility scooter with one hand underneath the horses mouth. The horse is in front of me and we are both looking at each other and so relaxed
Me and the special black gelding who has half my heart.

They helped me to finish grieving over the loss of my grandfather 13 years ago; something I had rushed for many reasons that I put on myself that were not right. They helped me to realise the deep down limiting belief I had of myself, that I felt invisible and desperate to prove myself to those around me that I am more than a disability and no longer a child.

They gave me the gift of healing all these things, which ultimately enabled me to finally thank and say goodbye to that scared, timid little girl who had been trapped inside me for years. I thanked her for the lessons and getting me to where I am. I said goodbye to her because she did her job, and I did this year what she needed but couldn’t do years ago. She has been freed and evolved into a strong, confident and peaceful new woman.

Each time I worked with horses, it chipped away and healed more spaces of me that I didn’t know needed it. It also enabled me to be confident in my disability and to actually ask for help when I need it, and to be more aware of how I am feeling. I never feel invisible to them, and each time I work with them I always start by saying and thinking ‘i see you’, and they return the phrase when turn their ears and look at me so subtly in acknowledgment before coming to get a good scratch.

me kissing the black and white Clydesdale who has also helped me through so much. we are standing in a sand arena and i have a brush in one hand.
The OG horse that has helped me through so much has the other half of my heart. At this stage I hadn’t yet reached

Ultimately, these newfound realisations enabled me to connect with a horse that I see so much of myself in. He and I found an unspoken bond within an hour of meeting each other.

Everything to do with personal realisations, healing and therapy, couldn’t have been done without the amazing wonder woman that is my Coach Hayley. I haven’t said it enough but I am so truly grateful to her for opening up her home, and starting a business to help people like me who love animals, and just want explore everything the animal world has to offer in terms of therapy and personal growth. She has helped me step into the woman I have wanted to be for a very long time. She never judges ability, and her knowledge, patience, guidance and thought provoking wisdom has been a life changer for me this year, and I can’t be more grateful. I highly recommend animal assisted therapy to anyone. What it does for the client’s it serves truly incredible!

another photo of me and the solid black horse. I am sitting in my scooter and the horse is standing with his head over my head
Just love this photo

Another Year Done! Thank you!

A photo of me before the UniSQ Law Ball in a Rose gold coloured one shoulder floor length sequin dress

All in all, this year has been full of lessons but also so many moments that I will remember forever. It has enabled me the opportunity to speak more, to have conversations and voice things I have been petrified to speak about.

Every single one of these milestones have been in part because of being disabled. Its never easy, but there are certain things that I know I probably would never had done, if it weren’t for my disability. This year taught me to be proud of my abilities, and to use it to help humans, and equines, find a new sense of love and compassion for themselves and those around them.

So, I thank every single one of you for joining me this year, and for reading these sometimes rambly, random and sometimes silly blog posts.

I am already deep into planning what the next 12 months looks like for this page and the Living Abled name, so stick around because I honestly can’t wait to show you what I have been working on for the last almost 2 years! All I can say is when I am done, Living Abled won’t be the same!

A bit thank you to every soul in my circle, friend, family, coaches, specialists, mentors, and of course animals, for making this year one to remember. I am sad to see 2022 go, but also super excited for 2023 to arrive.

I hope you all have an incredible New Year celebration, and I wish you all the very very best for 2023! See you next year!… okay well in about a few hours depending on when you read this post!

with love,

Rhi xo.

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