Dr. Angelika Trabert

Born in Germany in 1967, Angelika Trabert was born with no legs and only three fingers on one hand. Yet, she also has the ability to see beyond any obstacle in her life in order to be independent. At six, Angelika sat on a pony for the first time. The sense of freedom it gave her ignited a lifelong love for horses. It was difficult to find anywhere that would allow her to ride, but her parents persisted. She started with equitherapy and then riding lessons. When Angelika was eighteen, she and her family visited the United States and stayed with a family whose daughter had lost her leg due to cancer at the age of eight. She offered Angelika a ride on her horse, but only without her artificial legs so they would not bounce against the horse. This new experience offered a pain free ride and the opportunity to sit on a horse correctly. Back in Germany, she continued to ride with a Western saddle because it provided more support and enabled her to stay on the horse without her artificial legs. In 1989, she was given her first custom saddle and began competing in dressage.  Since 1991, she has competed internationally in six World Championships, five European Championships, and in five Paralympic Games, winning 26 medals, including three gold and four bronze. Equestrian made its debut appearance at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. Because of her representation of her country at those games, she was given the Silberne Lorbeerblatt (Silver Laurel Leaf) Award, which is the highest award for an athlete in Germany. Her success drove her to become fully ensconced in all aspects of dressage. She became a trainer for both able-bodied and disabled people. In 2001, she qualified as a higher level trainer and took steps to become an equestrian judge. From 1996 to 2006, she was elected Athletes’ Representative for the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC). She also coached disabled children in horseback riding, showing them the possibilities that arise from working with a horse as a partner. For most of them, it was a new experience – the freedom to decide on their own what to do and where to go with the animal. Most recently, Trabert won two bronze medals at the 2018 International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Equestrian Games, qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. She was elected the FEI Athlete’s Representative for the next four years. She has been recognized for her efforts multiple times, riding as the Para-Equestrian representative at the 2008 opening ceremony for CHIO Aachen, an international horse show held in Aachen, Germany before 37,000 spectators. She was awarded the 2009 Georg von Opel Prize for outstanding services to equestrians, the 2010 FEI Against All Odds Award, and, in 2012, won a Spanish Award for Merit in equestrian sport and a Speyer Sports Star Award. While horses and competition are her passion, Dr. Angelika Trabert also works full time as an anesthesiologist. In 2005, she suffered the unexpected death of her fiancé, Marc Coumans, whom she credits as one of the most influential people in her life. Working through this loss, she found a passion for humanitarian work and began traveling to Guinea, West Africa to provide anesthesia in rural areas without functioning medical systems. She married her husband, Naby Issa Trabert-Sow, in 2014. They started Sundjata, a nonprofit humanitarian organization for handicapped children in Guinea. They are planning to build a center, where the disabled are supplied with prostheses, wheelchairs, shelter, food, and education.  Dr. Trabert and her husband reside in Dreiech, Germany, with his two children, Alpha and Bintou Sow.

2018 Cowgirl Honoree – Germany