A/N: I got the inspiration to write this because there is a huge lack of Austria stories involving two things that people often forget or never know. Number one, Austria is the breeder of Lippizaner horses and has some part in the Riding School in Vienna. Number two, not many people know this but Austria spent some of his life in a wheelchair (it says so in his character notes). I also felt a need to write this because I myself am disabled (in a wheelchair) and am a Para Equestrian. Just a note, this story takes place in modern times.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Hetalia: Axis Powers.
Austria, or Roderich Edelstein was staring out of his bedroom window emotionlessly. He sighed and reached a hand down to stroke his legs. 'My useless legs.' The personified country thought bitterly. He sighed once more and rolled his wheelchair out of his bedroom and into the main parlor of his giant house. Austria smiled slightly when he saw his beloved grand piano. He rolled up to it and pushed the lid off of it with difficulty. It frustrated him greatly that things he used to be able to do without much thought or effort were so hard for him now. He stroked the piano keys, staring down at them. The man hated that he used to be looked up to. He used to be superior. Now, everyone literally looked down at him. They treated him as helpless and weak. 'I am not weak! I don't think...' Austria thought sadly and began to play on that beloved old grand piano. He played a piece he had composed himself. It was called "Dark Night of the Soul". He poured out all of his emotion into the piece, but he never showed any of that emotion in his face or body language. The pianist finished his piece and let his hands rest on his lap.
There was a sudden knock on the door and Austria gave a jolt of surprise. He rolled his wheelchair over to his front door and tugged it open with both hands and a lot of effort. Germany, or Ludwig Beilschmidt was standing on his porch. "Vhy are you just standing zere like an idiot? Come in!" Austria said and rolled his eyes. Germany walked into the old mansion and took the door from Austria, shutting it behind him. Austria once again rolled his eyes. "You know you don't have to do zhat. I can get it myself." Germany just took a seat on the couch in the main sitting room. Austria parked his wheelchair across from his guest. "So vhy have you come to call?" He asked. "Do you have somezhing to tell me? Or are you just bored?"
Germany shrugged. "I vas bored and thought you might enjoy some company." He looked around and his eyes naturally gravitated toward the window. It was bright and sunny outside with not even a single cloud in the sky. He could see flowers and trees growing in the acres outside. There was a pond in the center main garden. Swans swum around the pond gracefully. It looked very peaceful. "Vhy don't ve go outside? It looks rather nice." He suggested. Austria sighed and slightly reluctantly nodded. He didn't particularly enjoy going outside anymore, even though he owned as many acres as he did (thirteen in total). It was hard for him to get around on the cobblestone path and through the dirt and grass. It was also somewhat depressing. He used to walk through his gardens for hours or go explore the nearby forest and take pictures of and write notes about what he saw. Now it was nearly impossible to do that. Austria turned and lead the way into the gardens. Once they were outside, they went over to a little coffee table and once again sat across from each other.
Germany looked around at his surroundings. It was all as he had seen out of the window in the sitting room, but to his far left he could see a barn and a paddock. The paddock had at least five horses in it, if not more. This was something he didn't see from the window. On the fence of the paddock hung a sign that read 'HORSES FOR SALE! ALL MUST GO!'
Germany's eyebrows shot up into his hair when he saw the sign. "Vhat is vith zhat sign on ze paddock fence? Are you really selling all of your horses?" He asked his companion.
Austria nodded. Whether he knew it or not, there was a hint of sadness in his expression.
"But vhy?" Germany questioned. He was shocked. 'Why would Austria do such a thing?' He thought. 'He loves and prizes his horses over most things! Everyone knows that!'
Austria sighed. "I have no use for zhem now. I am stuck in zis vheelchair. I can no longer ride." He sighed once more and stared off in the direction of the paddock and barn.
Germany could see sadness and longing in the other's eyes. He suddenly remembered something he had come across on the internet.
Germany sat at his computer checking his email. He only did this because it was a rainy day and he had nothing to do, plus he barely ever checked his email. He scrolled through the pages and pages of unread email and sighed. He didn't know why he was doing this. Most of his inbox was just junk mail anyway. He was about to press the famous 'control, alt, delete' keys on his computer when one of the emails caught his eye. It was from a . The personified country knew who this was but clicked on the email anyway. It read:
Hey Germany! :D
I found this video YouTube and thought you might enjoy it since your country loves equestrian sports and all that jazz. Click on the link included in this message and take a look! Don't worry. I'm not trolling you!
Peace, love, and hamburgers,
America aka Alfred F. Jones aka THE HERO!
Germany rolled his eyes. 'Isn't Youtube that stupid website where teenagers with no lives post pointless vidoes of pointless things?' He thought. 'Like those stupid little puppets of characters from that children's novel series that England and everyone else on this planet seems to love? Ah, no matter. Horses are very interesting. I guess it couldn't hurt to take a look at this.' He clicked the link that was included in the email and the video popped up. The title of the clip was 'Para Equestrian Freestyle Grade IV - Bejing 2008' The video turned out to be a dressage rider and horse preforming a musical freestyle at the Bejing Olympics in 2008. At the end of the preformance instead of saluting the judges like he was supposed to, the rider hugged his horse and trumphantly pumped his fist into the air. He looked straight at the camera for a split second. Germany could see tears of joy in the rider's eyes. After that one look at the camera the clip ended.
Germany found himself of all people reaching a hand up to wipe tears from his eyes. 'Para Equestrian.' He thought. 'I know I've heard or seen that term somewhere.' He decided to Google it. He scrolled through the links, clicked on one that looked good, and started to read. The article read:
Para-equestrian sport is a form of equestrian sport which is practiced by people with disabilities. Many disabled athletes are able to hold their ground in competitions designed for the able-bodied, but para-equestrian opens the world of competition to riders with severe disabilities as well, allowing them to compete in a serious, focused environment. Many athletes who participate in para-equestrian are quite talented, and some are considered to be among the elite equestrians of the world, regardless of their physical condition.
While athletes with various disabilities have been riding and competing for decades, the first organized form of para-equestrian sport arose in Europe in the 1970s for dressage. As interest grew, para-equestrian expanded to include driving, jumping, and other equestrian sports. Para-equestrian dressage continues to be an especially big part of the sport, with competitions being held all over the world.
Internationally, para-equestrian is supervised by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), which has set standards for the sport, along with other equestrian sports. Riders are classified by their level of disability, with some being encouraged to compete in able-bodied competitions as well as para-equestrian ones, while others compete solely in the para-equestrian arena. Para-equestrian competitions have differing classes, some of which are designed to be easier for people with severe disabilities; for example, a dressage test could be ridden at a walk, without demonstrations of more challenging gaits.
Because para-equestrian athletes have physical disabilities, they are allowed to use a variety of aids to assist themselves in holding their seats and controlling their horses. They also endure grueling and intensive training which is focused on strengthening the bond between rider and horse, with para-equestrian horses being among the finest athletes in the equine world. In addition to possessing all the traits of horses who work at the elite level, including flexibility, suppleness, and grace, these horses must also be able to work with their riders, alert to subtle cues which could signal a rider in trouble.
Disabled equestrians appreciate the ability to compete in the para-equestrian arena, traveling to events all over the world to show their horses and meet like-minded people. The level of disability in para-equestrian sports is incredibly varied; everyone from amputees to people with cerebral palsy can be seen competing in para-equestrian. This field is also recognized by the International Paralympic Committee, as well an assortment of other bodies which govern Para-Olympic sport.
Germany was quite intruigied as he read the article. Once he was finished with it he got back onto YouTube to search for more Para Equestrian videos.
"Vhat about trying Para Equestrian?" Germany suggested.
Austria turned to Germany. "Para vhat?" Germany proceeded to explain Para Equestrian to the man. Austria's face remained emotionless during the entire presentation.
"So, vhill you try it?" Germany asked once he was finished explaining.
"Vhell, if you decide you vhant to, here's a phone number I found on ze in internet. You can call zhem for more information." Germany said. Hepulled a piece of paper from his pocket and quickly jotted down a phone number. He handed the paper to Austria. Austria put the paper in his pocket without looking at it. "I must be going." Germany said. He got up from his chair, turned on his heel, and left. Austria sighed and turned once more to stare at his horses.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this! Please put on Story Alert, Favorite, and REVIEW!