Julia Porzelt's year in the pandemic - Parasport athlete shares her life during lockdown

As a continuation of our series of articles about para sport rider Julia Porzelt, we thought of catching up once again.

The para dressage athlete has been making rounds in the sport with horses Lovely Daintiness and newest addition to the family, Bruno. In the following interview with the much-beloved athlete, she informs the readers about her daily life, her horses, and news. We learn how the animals mean so much to her. The sensitivity, almost human-like, of horses, is a reminder of why such magnificent creatures continue to have a mythical reputation. Yet, there is a relatable vulnerability we should all be aware of. Furthermore, Julia informed us of parasport’s place in the mainstream media, awareness issues, her training during the pandemic, social work and animal-assisted therapy career goals in the future, and her ways to spend her leisure time.

We first inquired about the animals she is in touch with as part of her daily life. There is a new addition to her family: her dog, Feline. We asked her about the interaction between the horses and Feline as well as typical misconceptions people have of them.

Given her extraordinary life and physical condition, Julia remarked on common questions she gets asked about it and how it helped her navigate her professional career environment.

Memmert: In another interview with you this year you mentioned your dog Feline. How did you first come across Feline and what was the initial connection like? We're curious, was there ever any jealousy between horses and Feline?

Julia: I bought and selected Feline from a breeder. It was there that my first contact with her took place and I immediately took her to my heart. Since Feline has been with the stable from an early age, there was no jealousy between the animals.

Memmert: If animals could speak, what do you think fierce Daintiness and handsome Bruno would say?

Julia: The most frequent questions would certainly be: when will we finally have food again? When will we finally go riding out in the woods and meadows again with a quick gallop?

Memmert: Any misconceptions people have about horses you would like to share or perhaps a few more reasons to prove just how cool horses are to bond with?

Julia: Yes, there are several things. Many people who are not familiar with horses underestimate how fearful and jumpy horses can be. Many cannot imagine that a 700 kg horse can be afraid of a balloon or an umbrella. The fascinating and cool thing about horses is that, although they are so incredibly strong, they can be extremely sensitive and sensitive at the same time and react to the smallest commands.

An article about the exciting para rider is never complete unless you talk about her sport and training. We had a chance to ask Julia about parasport, her long-term goals, correcting other’s many ideas around it, and finally encouraging word of advice for amputees looking to enter athletics.

Memmert: As opposed to the exposure the sport of dressage gets in the mainstream media, are there ways to improve the exposure for the sport of para dressage and give it a wider audience?

Julia: Yes, I think that the new media in particular offer us great opportunities here. Personally, I try to draw attention to parasport, e.g. through regular posts in my  Instagram account.

Memmert: As far as career aspirations go, how do you see yourself in 10 years? More social work or international tournaments in para riding?

Julia: With para-sport, even if it is practiced at the top international level, it is not possible to make a living. That's why I see myself more professionally in the field of social work and therapeutic work, where I would like to continue my education if my time allows. I like to work part-time as a riding therapist or animal-assisted therapist in collaboration with Feline and a horse.

Memmert: Despite the pandemic, you kept yourself busy with work and sports training. Was there a change in your training or your routine in the past year and how did you adjust?

Julia: Unfortunately, the training was completely interrupted for a few months because I couldn't use the indoor arena, the riding arena or the sports field with a trainer. Actually it was just the training alone.

Memmert: What are misconceptions you find people having about your sport?

Julia: That riding is not a real sport and is not really strenuous.

Memmert: Any word of advice to amputees looking to enter sports?

Julia: Approach the sport you would like to do with an open mind without reservation and just try it. Limits are often wrongly set in your own head first, although a lot is possible, even with a disability.

Memmert: What's the most common question you get asked? Are you ever tired of it?

Julia: The most common question I am asked is what happened to me so that I have this severe disability. I think that this is quite normal and I have not grown tired of this question yet.

Memmert: As an employee at the  Interdisziplinären Frühförderung PUSTEBLUME!, what has been your lessons so far from the workplace? What can we learn from it to create more awareness?

Julia: (To) approach everyone openly and without prejudice. Everyone deserves a chance. Often just a few kind words or just listening carefully can go a long way toward helping another person.

Lastly, we asked Julia about her leisurely activities. Not only were her answers humble but they were relatable. It was calming given the times the world is currently living in and seeing an athlete discuss the same every day wishes and express feelings about it makes her the great role model she has become.

Memmert: Any travel destination goals and why?

Julia: I would like to go to the sea with Dainty and ride along the beach there. I would also like to travel to London or New York one day.

Memmert: We have come to know about athlete Julia Porzelt but how is she in her free time? Are you spending your leisure time reading, listening to music or watching movies, TV shows, or playing video games? Did something catch your eye and you would like to recommend to our readers?

Julia: In the little free time I have left, I really enjoy meeting up with my friends and also spending time on social networks. I also love reading.

Memmert: Once the world returns to normal, from how things are now, what are you most looking forward to?

Julia: The unrestricted social contacts; that you can go to parties, to the cinema and to dinner again, etc. And of course that horse shows can finally take place again without any restrictions.

Inspired to know more? Check out her for the latest information and updates on Julia’s career and inspiring life. Keep an eye on our website for the  latest news about her career of which Memmert is a proud sponsor.