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Olympic Equestrians  
 
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On the equestrian side, Taylor worked as a contract rider for twenty-four years and also moved into training and management. He coached a Canadian rider to a gold medal at the 1991 Pan American Games and reached the Olympics as assistant team manager for Canada in Barcelona in 1992.

A tiny insect changed Taylor's life forever. While in Barcelona, he was bitten by a Spanish sandfly and contracted visceral leishmaniasis donnovanni, a bone-marrow disease that typically proves fatal within twenty months. For Taylor, diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1985, the prognosis was extremely dire.

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The aggressive chemotherapy that doctors used to fight the infection cost Taylor much of his hearing and ninety percent of his vision, but the very fact of his survival led doctors to hope that they had found a regimen to treat leishmaniasis. Unfortunately, no other patient has responded as Taylor did.

"In the end," stated Taylor, "the doctors wrote that 'we recognize that this client has an amazing spirit.' Now, doctors never write things that are ethereal like that, but there was no reason to understand why I should still be alive."

Taylor published an autobiography, Don't Postpone Joy, in 2005. The work has also come out in Braille and talking book editions.

Because of his "amazing spirit," Taylor has had success as a public speaker, treating subjects ranging from living with HIV to development strategies for running a business.

Taylor and his partner, Rodney Coleman, reside in Auckland and operate Dorothy's Sister: A Bar and House of Fabulosity on Ponsonby Road. Coleman tends the bar and manages the front of the house while Taylor reigns in the kitchen, making his specialty cakes and creating an array of Spanish-inspired tapas, an ironic and poignant choice but one that underscores his resilience and determination.

Pearson, Lee

Another outstanding equestrian is Paralympian Lee Pearson (b. 1974).

The Paralympics are elite sport events for athletes from six different disability groups. The Paralympics are held in the same year and in the same venues as the Olympic Games. Although the Paralympics feature disabled athletes, the games emphasize the participants' athletic achievements rather than their disabilities.

Pearson began his life in a closet. Following his birth on February 4, 1974 in Cheddleton, Staffordshire, doctors sedated his mother, Lynda Pearson, for thirty-six hours. When she regained consciousness and demanded to see her child--if she had a living one--she was wheeled to a broom closet where her son was lying in a crib covered by a cloth amid a collection of cleaning equipment.

The baby had arthrogrypsos multiplex congenita, a condition that causes the muscles of the limbs to grow as scar tissue. His frail arms and legs were grotesquely twisted. Despite his shocking appearance, reported Pearson, "Mum took a gulp, picked me up, and gave the first of a million cuddles."

Pearson required numerous operations and had had fifteen by 1980, when he was recognized with the United Kingdom's Children of Courage Award.

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