VERONICA Coulter dreamed of showing her admirable barrel racing skills to the world in October but a horror crash on Monday afternoon has shattered those ambitions.
The Fernvale truck driver sustained extensive injuries when a four-wheel-drive hit the back of her broken-down vehicle near Dinmore as she checked the truck's rear for a mechanical issue.
Veronica underwent surgery and was still fighting for her life on Tuesday morning, as her partner, Glen Smith, remained by her side.
The car driver was also injured and the Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
Tributes for the New Zealand-born woman have flowed in via her Facebook page, with friends praising her fighting spirit and her strength.
"Sending all my love and prayers to a great friend," Mark Quinn posted.
"Please have these people in your thoughts and prayers."
Veronica's family also travelled to be with her on Tuesday - her sister came from Western Australia, her father from New Zealand and her brother from Brisbane.
Sister Kim Coulter said: "I love you sis, I know you're strong, just keep fighting."
Veronica had qualified for the 2017 National Barrel Horse Association World Championships held in Georgia, the United States, and had been rallying support in the community to help her get there and prove herself on the world stage.
"It's a feeling that's hard to describe," Veronica said last week.
"It's like (barrel racing) takes me to another place, where I'm in my own little world - a world of just me, the horse and crazy speed."
Glen had also qualified for the world titles in a different division and was similarly excited to see his love and riding coach show the American competition her skills.
"Veronica's been riding since she was able to walk," he said.
"She's proud but she doesn't like to tell people about how she was rookie champ (when she lived) in New Zealand.
"This year she's done really well and she knows her stuff."
Glen said Veronica had been responsible for his induction into the rodeo sport, giving him riding tips along the way.
"When we first started dating, she taught me everything," he said.
The 32-year-old will no longer be travelling to the US in October and will have a long road ahead in her recovery.
But as her friends and family agreed, it would have to be a truly insurmountable barrier to keep Veronica off her horse.
"For Veronica, barrel racing is her life (and) she'll never give up," Glen said.
He vowed to do everything possible to ensure Veronica's dream still came true.
Veronica's close friend Sarah Whybrow said the National Barrel Horse Association community would pull together to support the the couple.
"This news has really rocked us all," she said.
"Everyone has come together to show Veronica and Glen support."
Another friend of the fierce cowgirl had set up a GoFundMe page, which collected half of the $5000 goal in just three hours on Tuesday.
You can offer your support to Veronica's recovery effort by contacting her local horse association via email@example.com or by visiting her GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/the-toughest-cowgirl-we-know.
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