Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Multiple sclerosis
How acquired
Date of Birth
March 20, 1973
Bega, NSW
Audio engineer/DJ
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia

Partner Mike and Tristan Tucker, a Dutch horse trainer

Career Highlights

Being selected for the Rio long list

Greatest Moment

Producing real quality show horses


Horses have always been a part of Katie Umback’s life. She grew up in a horse-oriented family, with her father breaking in and training pacers. Katie first started competing as a five-year-old in pony club and started dressage at the age of seven.

Katie was heavily involved in the equestrian discipline of eventing until she was 18 when she had a serious fall on a cross country course. The fall broke the fifth vertebra in her neck, ending her jumping and eventing career.

From then on she focused on dressage and agricultural shows. She also started breaking-in, re-educating and training green horses as well as teaching people to ride. She was professionally showing horses at a national level.

She was in the prime of her life and enjoying a successful career doing what she loved when, at age 32, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She was told that she would lose the ability to walk and would not ride again.

Katie undertook years of chemotherapy and several rounds of autoimmune medications before deciding it was time to get some normality back in her life and start riding horses again.

It took months of riding her horse around at a walk in her arena to get her balance back – having lost around 70% of feeling in her body from the MS.

After more than a year of learning to ride again, she had her ability back and also her urge to compete. She set herself the goal of competing in Para Dressage and fulfill her lifelong dream of competing internationally for Australia.

In 2013 she imported a three-year-old horse Marquis from Tristan Tucker, an Australian dressage rider based in Holland. For the six months leading into the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Katie based herself with Tristan in Holland, in order to compete on the European dressage circuit and undertake Paralympic qualifiers.

She rides four or five days a week and puts a lot of focus on good diet, good sleep, cardio training, physiotherapy and pilates.

Before competing, Katie likes to plait her horse with an uneven number of plaits in his mane for good luck.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Equestrian Disciplines: Dressage - Individual championship Classification: III
  • Sport: Equestrian Disciplines: Dressage - Team championship Classification: III