On the 30th May, 2004, my husband, Mark, and I arrived in Australia for the holiday of a lifetime. On the 1st June I became a paraplegic following a horse riding accident.

Before my accident I was a Legal Executive for a firm of solicitors. A typical week would be juggling between preparing cases, attending the Crown Court and also being on 24-hour call for the police station. I was often called out in the middle of the night and expected to be at Court the following day, so life was certainly hectic.

Mark and I liked jive dancing. Following my accident this was probably my biggest loss and something I still have trouble accepting. I find it difficult watching others dance in a way I will never be able to again. Well-meaning people have said I could still dance even though I am in a wheelchair. Sorry, I know they mean well, but it will never be the same and five years further on these wounds are still raw.

The telephone rand and I automatically tried to get up and answer it

Whilst at Stanmore my wonderful husband visited me almost every day, a round trip of 110 miles. One of the hardest times was the first visit home to meet a local occupational therapist; the telephone rang and I automatically tried to get up and answer it. I returned to the hospital with very mixed feelings. There were plenty of ‘down days’. The one thought that kept me going was that there was light at the end of the tunnel. I just didn’t know how long the tunnel was.

In April 2005 I discovered a great new interest: 10m Air Rifle shooting. I began competing in September 2005 and then entered my first British Open competition in February 2006. I won three gold medals in my class, and since then I have won a variety of medals.

Mandy air riffle shooting

I returned to work, but decided to become self-employed when I became a member of the GB Shooting Team in October 2007. I competed in my first International in December 2007 and achieved three Paralympic minimum qualifying scores. My highest International placing to date is seventh, but I’m working on that.

Life is still hectic, but who would have thought that I would be training for an opportunity at the age of 50 to compete in the Paralympics?