Disability Doesn't Stop Local Woman From Becoming Top Athlete

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Practice, practice, practice is something Angie Simmons has become accustomed to. Simmons' love for riding horses runs, gallops and trots deep.

For the past 10 years Simmons has saddled up and practiced hard and now that hard work is paying off. In October she will compete in the Special Olympics in Shanghai, China. Simmons considers it a personal accomplishment.

"It means I am getting better at this," Angie Simmons said.

Simmons' Coach Patricia Lombard says Angie is part of an elite group.

"For equestrian there's either nine or 10 athletes from across the U.S. going," Lombard said.

Simmons has overcome some of life's biggest obstacles. At age seven she was in car wreck that left her brain damaged and in a coma for several months. However, she has overcome the odds and through competing with her horse she has learned some valuable lessons.

"You learn to lose and you learn to win," Simmons said.

Simmons first starting riding through a program called S.H.A.R.E, Special Horses and Riders Excelling and over the years her coach has been right by her side.

"When Angie started riding it took one person leading the horse and two people holding her on the horse for her to ride, and she could barely stay at a walk," Lombard said.

Now Simmons competes in multiple competitions in various categories and riding has given her a new sense of control in her life.

"It feels like you've got the power, " Simmons said.

Coach Lombard says empowerment is an integral part of the program.

"The whole program is about going as far as you can with your disability," Lombard said.

Simmons will compete this weekend at the Special Olympic Chapter Games in Irving.