Success Story: Sabrina Rodriguez – How I recovered from surgery to win again

By Annette Paterakis

Every day I get up with a single goal in mind: helping others. Helping others to build their confidence, to increase their focus, and to prepare for competition and, ultimately, to perform at their peak and to enjoy the ride. But sometimes, you end up helping someone in ways you could not have imagined.

Meet Sabrina. Sabrina is a showjumper and she reached out to me leading up to very serious surgery. Her situation was unique and very challenging. She needed to prepare herself mentally in order to get through this incredibly tough procedure and to work through her post-surgery recovery. I suggested to Sabrina that she should join my Master Your Mind Online Mental Training Program. She was one of the first students to graduate from the program. In just over three months, she made it through, she’s back in the saddle and she’s winning again! I cannot begin to express how proud I am of Sabrina. Here is her story…

“My name is Sabrina Rodriguez. I am a 45-year old mom, full-time worker and showjumper. I am aspiring to jump 1.30m classes again and dreaming of my first Grand Prix before the end of 2019. And here’s my story…

Let’s begin by saying I’m not your conventional rider. I spent one long year of coping with spondylolisthesis, where the fractured vertebrae – in my case 2 of them, L5 and S1 – slipped forward on the vertebra below. Doctors believe that some people may be born with vertebral bone that is thinner than normal and this may make them more vulnerable to fractures. In my case, it wasn’t due to an accident, but I was experiencing severe pain, sciatalgia due to nerve injury, tingling, and numbness in my right leg. These symptoms result from pressure on the spinal nerve root as it exits the spinal canal near the fracture. Surgery was needed to relieve the symptoms. But my mind blocked me from taking the path of the operating room. Why? Like I said, I’m not your conventional rider.

In October 2017, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue. Symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, trouble concentrating and remembering, called “fibro fog”, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes and stress management. Researchers aren’t sure what causes it, but believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Basically, it’s a incurable neuropathy. So, here I was, in immediate need for spinal surgery and with fibromyalgia. I expected the pain-related symptoms were going to make post surgery almost impossible to cope with.


“But I was determined. I had confidence. I was motivated. I was going to make it through in record time.”


I was in desperate need of help and so I reached out to the only person I thought could provide me with the tools to deal with all this: Annette. We spoke over the phone. I told Annette my story. I felt we had an immediate connection. I sensed she felt my desperation. Hence, we traced a plan of action.

The Master Your Mind Online Mental Training Program was exactly what I needed. Firstly, guided breathing exercises to help me relax and focus. Secondly, walking me through how to let go of my mental blocks by working with tapping exercises called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is basically a self-help technique that involves tapping near the end points of “energy meridians” located around the body.  EFT works by lowering cortisol level and the body’s stress response because it helps to promote relaxation. All of this took my mental game to the next level.

The most important part were the days before the operation. I concentrated all my energy in preparing my body to manage the pain and work on my fears. Fear of not being able to walk once I stepped out of the operating room, and fear of not being able to ride my horses again…

But I was determined. I had confidence. I was motivated. I was going to make it through in record time. By day 50, I was already working with my physiotherapy team, in the gym, swimming in a heated salty pool, acupuncture, massages twice a week, electroanalgesia, to get my core strength back. Day 87, back on my horse. Just for a walk. By Day 99, I entered my first competition and I won!

I can’t thank Annette enough for not only all her help, but her follow-up on the surgery and rehab. I admire her as a coach but most importantly, as a person. THANK YOU COACH!!!!



P.S. None of this would have been possible without the unconditional support of my family, my Coach Augusto Fraschina, all my physiotherapy team at Kynet, especially Florencia Galera, and a very special thanks to Dr. Mario Olivera, my M.I.S.S. (Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery) surgeon, the magician behind it all. Thank you!”

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Want to shed limiting beliefs, overcome traumas, grow your confidence and perform at your peak? Then check out my Master Your Mind Online Mental Training Program. With step-by-step, guided videos and exercises, I will walk you through everything you need to know to take your mental game to the next level. Follow the link to learn more about the program and watch the first lesson free: Master Your Mind