Forty-year-old Rachel Stock is in constant pain, has a malignant cancer and bones and joints that are sure to need replacing thanks to a degenerative bone disease.
But she is battling past daunting odds to represent New Zealand at the Paralympic games in London in the dressage event.
Stock's condition means she has to be strapped to her 18-hand 800 kg gelding, but the pain, she says, which feels like being stabbed in the spine, is all worth it, to achieve a dream.
"It's on the bucket list," she says. "I've got the Paralympics on my horizon, What more can anybody need as a motivation to get them out of bed in the morning?"
Stock has the enduring backing of her friends and family and financial support from a syndicate to compete in the expensive event.
She says the special relationship she shares with her horse makes competitive riding incredibly rewarding.
"When he makes the effort and gives to me and he's trying too, there's just no feeling like it," she says.
Stock also believes her horse feels the pain she is in when she rides, making their connection that much stronger.
"We've become very, very close. When I am very sore I actually have to ride him very forward because he would creep back [take it easy].
"That's what makes a special international horse. One that knows how far you can do it together."