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A Multi-Dimensional Coach: Sharon Buffitt and Chelsea Van Lierde

She was on a relatively new partner, a Canadian Warmblood mare named Gitane D'Aubrac that she had leased only the winter before; she had recently been reclassified as an FEI Para-Dressage Grade II rider, down from her previous classification as a more able-bodied Grade III; and she had been working with her personal coach, Chelsea Van Lierde, only since March of 2010. With 12th-place finishes in both the Grade II Individual Championship and Freestyle competitions, Sharon showed the world that she was very much up to the challenge. She attributes much of her success to Chelsea, a coach who is so much more than just someone who stands in the ring teaching. Sharon suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT), a debilitating neurological disorder that sounds similar to multiple sclerosis, but is actually more like muscular dystrophy. “I was born with it, but was diagnosed at age eight,” she explains. “It causes…

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